In this news, we discuss the Welcome aboard, sort of: How to start a new job in 2020.
NEW YORK – Sometimes Cara Tocci feels like she is living in an underground bunker in a very strange world, like a character in the TV series “Lost”.
During this very curious moment in human history, Tocci began a new job as vice president of global corporate communications at sneaker and apparel giant Foot Locker.
“I’ve never even set foot in the office or met my colleagues in person,” says Tocci, who works from his studio loft in Greenwich Village, New York. “Everything was on Zoom. It was definitely the strangest new job experience I have ever had.
After losing about 22 million jobs since March, the U.S. economy has added more than 11 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But for many corporate jobs, workers have not yet returned to a physical office. Tech giants like Apple and Amazon are planning a return to office life in early 2021, Google is targeting next July, and some – like Twitter and Slack – even suggest the home shift could be permanent.
As a result, recent hires often work from home, which means employee learning, socializing with co-workers, integrating into teams, and starting projects all take place in a fully virtual environment.
“New hires always want to be in the field and feel like they’re making an immediate contribution,” says Tracy Brower, director of office design firm Steelcase and author of “Bring Work To Life By Bringing Life To Work” .
“But at the moment, they feel in between and don’t know how to bond,” Brower adds. “It’s a real challenge in terms of motivation and retention.”
Integration is always a delicate process. Here are some tips on how companies can make employees feel welcome from a distance – and how newly hired employees can navigate this bizarre world:
Usually, in a new environment, employees tend to be respectful, letting long-term employees take the lead while quietly observing in the background.
In 2020, you must adjust this strategy, because a barely present presence is not going to consolidate your status. “As a new person, you won’t be in the foreground because people don’t even know about you yet,” Brower says.
Against this dynamic by taking the initiative to establish new connections. Create one-on-one and virtual cafes with key people, then follow up later to maintain those relationships.
Find a mentor who knows the ins and outs of how the business works and has a vested interest in seeing you succeed. Network with everyone who started working this year – it’s a unique bonding experience, so use it to your advantage.
It’s not easy – especially for introverts – but aggressive bonding will start a “virtuous cycle” of inviting more and more projects, Brower says.
It’s not quite the same as having a drink at the local bar after work, but now you can and should socialize with new colleagues. If you’re just talking shop all the time, they don’t know you fully – and you don’t really know them.
Just ask Jeanne Schad, Global Practice Leader for Talent Management Solutions at Randstad RiseSmart Workforce Consultants. His company offers a number of “Airbnb Experiences,” where staff members do cool things together – even if it’s over a wifi connection. They went to visit an olive grove in Croatia, did “laughter yoga” with an instructor in Portugal and together took a master class on how to make the perfect cup of coffee.
“All of these things help bring new members to our team and let you get to know people in a different way,” says Schad.
TURMOIL TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
Under normal circumstances, companies often have strict formulas for how the onboarding is supposed to go: your interactions might be limited to your immediate team, for example.
In 2020, old protocols could be phased out the window – and that can open up some exciting opportunities, across different silos of the business. “The new employees are not yet established and your personal brand is not known within the company,” says Schad.
Since you are not trained in the eyes of your employer, you are “a bit like an amoeba, and you can be whatever the company needs from you,” Schad adds. “It can absolutely work to your advantage, over an employee who has been there for a long time and feels stuck in a job description.”
Editing by Lauren Young and Aurora Ellis
Original © Thomson Reuters