Instant Pain Relief for Your New Job & Onboarding Experience

So, you’ve been offered the next role in your exciting career path. You’ve negotiated a great package, taken real pleasure formally handing in your notice, and you’ve got your start date … now what?

Purple Patch

Instant Pain Relief for Your New Job & Onboarding Experience
(Or How Not to Feel Like an Idiot for 6 Months)

As always, I’m going to be brutally honest here … I absolutely HATE (and I don’t use that word lightly, so I’ll say it again) HATE starting a new job. From really getting under the skin of the role detail, to meeting the people I’d be working most closely with and everything in-between, the whole process fills me with complete dread.

Hands up if you feel my pain! Thought so, I expect it’s one of the main reasons we prefer to stay in the safety of our comfort zones and rarely move on.

Let me be clear; it’s not the new challenges or learnings I fear, those things excite me. It’s my personality type that holds me back – my pride. I absolutely love being the subject matter expert. The one who knows the role inside out, the quirks and skills of every team member, the available resources and how best to optimise them. I ‘teach to learn’ and that’s when I really thrive.

Being the fish out of water, having to constantly ask questions until I’m empowered with all the answers, this is really uncomfortable ground for me. For people who encounter me in the day-to-day, I’m sure that will come as a big surprise.

On the outside; I may come across as confident, self-assured, unphased, and ready to take on any task, which is true most of the time. Yet inside, I’m filled with doubt, dread, and of course the old ‘did I make the right decision’ question which keeps tapping a sharp nailed finger at my forehead.

I’m sure you’ve been there too. The job where you turn up and no one is there to greet you -no one knows you’re starting – no one gets your name right. Then you’re shown to a desk, given some random things to do, and you spend the next few months desperately trying to stay afloat. Learning from your (many) mistakes as you go. Sound familiar?

Then, finally, after six months of pain, you’re in your groove. People are coming to you with questions, and you’re back on top of the world. If only we had a fast-forward button to get through that first 6-month nightmare eh?

It’s because of my own personal experiences of this that I have a deep passion for ensuring people have a welcoming, productive, and enjoyable onboarding experience in their role.

Getting it right is a ‘win-win’ for everyone. The company doesn’t waste money by losing people in the first few months of pain, people ‘ramp up’ faster, meaning they are more productive, and it makes for a happier more positive work environment all round.

If you’re nodding along thinking, yep, that’s me, then read on, I hope you can take some of the following suggestions into your next onboarding experience.

5 tips to make starting your new role less painful and a more enjoyable, productive ride …

Thankfully, with the development of technology, L&D Solutions, and investment in Training and Development roles within organisations, things have gotten a lot better. Even with SMB’s, new hire onboarding is no longer an afterthought. 

But. the truth is, there are still things that your new employer can do (post on this topic coming soon) – and things we can do to help ourselves onboard with ease, speed, and grace.

So, you’ve been offered the next role in your exciting career path. You’ve negotiated a great package, taken real pleasure formally handing in your notice while turning down the massively upgraded package they offered you to stay (not always the case, but it’s great when that happens eh?).

You’ve got your start date … now what?

Here, right now, is the first place you can start to take action …


TIP#1: Before you start in your new role – take some time off to clear your mind and mentally prepare

I appreciate that sometimes this isn’t possible, however, if you can afford to take a week or so off before starting your new role, please do. Here’s why …

When you start a new role, you are going to be on a new and often very steep learning curve. For the first few months, you will be coming home exhausted, downloading new information and processing it as you sleep. So I encourage you to take some time for you. Spend it with your family, have a break from emails, meetings, calendar overload, and just give your body some time to rest.

When your start date comes around, you’ll be fully charged and ready to dive in with a refreshed and fully engaged brain.


TIP#2: Start researching your new company from the outside in

No doubt you’ll have much research under your belt from going through the recruitment process; however, now you have a ‘new lens’ opportunity. Take some of your downtime to learn about the company’s history, it’s values, the leadership team. Get deeper into the products or services offered, what does it look like from the customer’s lens? What is the company doing at a community level? 

Understanding this type of detail will give you a lot to talk about with your peers and colleagues from the moment you start. 

Awkward silence protective shield 


TIP#3: Meet with your peers early

Reach out to your manager to see if they would be comfortable introducing you to some (or all) of your immediate team members early. If they are, see if you can grab a coffee with them either individually or as a group. This really breaks the first day nerves, you can meet them in a less formal environment, build rapport early, and ask their advice for your day one. 

Trust me, doing this makes day one so much more pleasurable (and people get your name right – yay!). 


TIP#4: When you start your new role – take the initiative

(Bold – but highly effective)

You don’t always have to wait to be told what to do or when to do it. Everyone is different when it comes to learning. Of course, you will have some fundamental introductory activities to do and complete, that’s normal. You can, however, ‘take control’ by having useful questions prepared for your first connect with your leader. These will also give you a ton of next steps and things to do, here are some great examples (feel free to steal) …

  • Can you tell me the names of people you think I should meet within the first two to four weeks? 
  • Why are each of these people important?
  • What should I be looking to achieve from these conversations based on each of their roles?
  • What are your expectations of me over the next two to four weeks? (Try to uncover what’s important to them and what they want to see you demonstrating as you learn)
  • How often should we meet, and how do you like to run your one-to-one’s? (Get a feel for how they like to manage their check-ins with you and how you should prepare for these meetings)
  • Are there any things coming down the track you feel I should be aware of?

(What projects, events, customer meetings might be happening that you could get involved in which they may not have already considered)

  • Who on the team is my dedicated buddy?
  • What skills do you think I have which I could share with the team?



REMEMBER - You were employed for a reason, often you come with skills that might not be already present in the team, think about how you can start adding value right off the bat

Fear of Not Fitting In

Now, before you start thinking you’re going to come across as a ‘brown noser’, please kick this ridiculous thought right out of your mind. What the hell is being proactive ever going to do to your career other than good things? 

This tall poppy syndrome thing which has crept into a lot of organisations is a real killer. As with anything, it’s all in the delivery. Do things in the ‘right’ way, with sincerity, and watch people get involved. 


TIP#5: Go the extra mile to meet people from across the business

Get involved with internal initiatives; this could be cultural, e.g. volunteer opportunities or talks that might be happening. Or, even better, initiate some of these things yourself and involve people from around the business.

Sit at a different desk every now and then; it’s amazing the people you meet and get chatting to. Try to do this at lunchtime too, if you feel comfortable enough, ask someone if it’s OK to join them at their table. Networking and building relationships make you feel welcome quicker ( I can hear you lovely introverts squirming at my words but go on, you might just meet your new best friend!).

What NOT to do!   EVER!

Don’t inherit the negativity of others

No business is perfect, not one! Even if a company has been voted the best place in the universe to work, there will always be challenges, obstacles and change. When you first start, most people will avoid speaking negatively when you’re around. As you get to know everyone, the curtains will lift, and you’ll soon hear what the real issues are. 

You can listen, nod, show empathy, but try not to be drawn too much into negative talk or chatter. If senior leaders get wind of this or you’re overheard speaking in this way it can often have a negative impact that takes ages to repair. Been there – done that – ouch! 

Don’t be a ‘know it all’ and overstep your boundaries too early

When we start a new role; we want to demonstrate value early. It’s a natural urge to prove yourself. We can often see things which could be changed or improved, and you may want to voice your opinion, DON’T. Even though you’re right. It’ll go down like a steak at a vegan buffet. Been there – done that too – double ouch! 

Take the time to observe, sit back, listen intently, and learn the current ways before you go on the offensive with your genius ideas.

Get your arms around your role first, take notes, write down your observations and thoughts, get clear on what your suggestions might be, then begin to share them with your manager and team gradually – to bring them on the journey with you. They will see your considered approach and the thought processes behind your new ideas.

NEVER shy away from your turn to make a brew

You knew that one, right? 😊

Over to you …

So there you have it, just a few examples of what I’ve seen work over the years to help you hit the ground running. Let me know if you’re just about to start a new job and how these have played out for you. Share your good (and cringy) onboarding experiences with me, I’d love to hear them. 

Purple Patch