Many organisations, mainly medium to large-size companies, have a well-defined process or programme through which they welcome and integrate new employees and interns into their workplace. Through this onboarding process, the human resource staff or department provide the necessary information, resources, tools and introduction to other team members for the purpose of integration and support to perform. This varies in duration, typically ranging from as short as an hour to a few hours or even several days, depending on the organisation’s size.
In contrast, some organisations, particularly S.M.Es and startups, may not have a highly formalised onboarding process for interns. In these cases, onboarding may be relatively brief, consisting mainly of introductions to team members who will gradually provide you with the necessary information and guidance over time. While some individuals may seamlessly adapt to a new workplace and hit the ground running, many of us require time and effort to fully integrate. It’s important to allow yourself that time.
Here are some tips to help you integrate into a new workplace:
- Be open-minded. Every organisation has its own unique culture and way of doing things. Be open to learning new things and adapting to your new surroundings. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about your role, the company, or anything else that you’re unsure about.
- Be proactive. Don’t wait for your manager to come to you with tasks. Take the initiative to introduce yourself to your colleagues and learn about their roles. Volunteer to work on tasks and be open to feedback to make improvements.
- Be yourself. Don’t try to be someone you are not. Your colleagues and managers will appreciate you for who you are. Your unique personality will only add colour to the team.
- Be a team player. Be willing to help out your colleagues and contribute to the team’s success. Participate in company meetings and social activities. This is a great way to get to know your colleagues and build relationships that can help you thrive in the workplace.
Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
Starting out at a new workplace can sometimes bring up feelings of self-doubt regarding your abilities and capacity to function in your new role. This is called the Imposter syndrome. It is the feeling of being inadequate, unqualified, incapable or that you don’t belong or deserve where you currently are and may fail at it. It is a feeling common to newcomers to a workplace or a role.
However, note that it is a common feeling you have to overcome to thrive in the workplace. Even the most experienced professionals have moments of doubt. Be kind enough to yourself to know that it will take time for you to fit in at your new workplace. Keep in mind that no one was born an expert but everyone learns on the job. Remind yourself that even though you may not know a lot, you are capable of learning a great deal. Remember the classes you struggled with at first but later got a handle on? You’ve also got this.
If you’re struggling with something, feel free to take the time to learn more about it or ask your manager or colleagues for help. They will be happy to help you. Avoid comparing yourself to others at work. Have the mindset of an explorer still finding out what he or she will be great at. Remember that everyone has their unique strengths and weaknesses. Find areas at work that let you put your strength and skills to work, and you can be really great at.
We have looked at onboarding, integrating and overcoming imposter syndrome at work. In the next topic, we will be looking at organisational structures and cultures.