Onboarding Do's and Don'ts for Employees: How to Successfully Transition to a New Company

Jul 27, 2021

When most candidates think about onboarding, they think of the long list of introductory tasks that come along with joining a new company. The average new hire has 54 tasks to complete during the onboarding process, including filling out forms, setting up workspaces, meeting with the team, and getting to know the company’s policies and culture. But while these types of tasks are certainly a part of the onboarding process, onboarding is more than just a list of required tasks -- it also includes cultivating a mindset that can help ensure a smooth transition from one company to another. Here are some of the most important things for candidates to remember as they start with a new company:

Do: Be Patient

Transitions are never easy -- even when they’re exciting and pre-planned. It takes time to adjust to a new position with a new company; on average, it takes about 3-6 months for the “new” to become “normal.” So don’t expect to feel at home during the first week on the job; give it some time, and things will fall into place.

Don’t: Doubt the Decision to Change Jobs

When a candidate starts the search for a new job, it is because they have evaluated their status with their current company and decided it was in their best interest to pursue new opportunities. Any desires for growth or issues within the employee’s current organization will not disappear just because things are stressful during the transition period. The best thing a candidate can do is trust their gut and commit to the new opportunity they worked hard to pursue.

Do: Expect to Feel Stressed 

Of all the most stressful things in life, changing jobs is the only one that a person actually chooses for themselves. Even a great choice can have stressful moments, and that’s okay. The transitional phase won’t last forever, and when it ends, the candidate will be in a role that challenges, fulfills, and excites them.

Don’t: Forget to Prepare

Spend a transitional weekend (or even a full week, if it’s feasible) getting a clear mind and a clean slate before starting with a new company. Review the company’s website, blog, and any literature they provided, and get to know their culture as much as possible. Having that time to reset mentally and gather information can help a new employee feel less overwhelmed on their first day.

Do: Engage with the Team

On day one, engaging with new teammates should be a top priority. Get to know both who they are and what they do. Employees spend a significant amount of time together, and establishing strong working relationships early can set a new hire up for long-term success with the company.

Don’t: Assume All Companies Do Things the Same Way

Every company does things differently -- even if it’s a company doing the same scope of work in the same market as a candidate’s previous company. So even if the candidate has held the same job title in the past, they should come into their new role with a learning mindset and be ready to adapt to the new company’s way of doing things.

Do: Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

Success in any role depends on working hard and communicating effectively every day. When starting a new job, set regular check-in meetings with the new boss, take notes on any questions and concerns that arise, and confirm that the manager’s expectations are being met and the job is being performed as expected.

Onboarding can be a stressful period for a new hire, and it is natural to have questions and doubts when changing jobs. But by keeping these tips in mind, candidates can help ensure a smooth transition from one company to another -- and feel confident that they are prepared to meet any challenges that come their way throughout the process!

About the Author

Charlie Kimmel

As President and CEO, Charlie has dedicated his 25+ year career to executive search at Kimmel & Associates. Charlie began his career at Kimmel & Associates in 1990 as a Recruiter. In 1993, he graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina at Asheville, where he received a BA in History.

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