Today’s Community Contributor is Steffany Winkelmann, a Client Success Manager at Jackrabbit Online Class Management Software. She has written several reviews for ecommerce, business intelligence, and email marketing products.
Millennials are often pegged as rapid job-changers. While there is plenty of truth to that generalization, it has afforded me a unique perspective. Having had multiple opportunities to start anew has forced me to prove that my prior job-hopping can, in fact, add value to an organization more than harm it. To do that, I’ve had to learn to navigate new systems and processes quickly, make valuable connections early, and make a lasting impact fast. (On that note, I’m by no means advocating for job-hopping or ignoring its apparent downsides, but rather highlighting a unique perspective afforded to me through it).
Learn what your role actually is
To make an impact fast, you first need to understand your role. No, not the role you were hired for, but the role you’re actually filling. Remember: you were hired to help the organization reach a certain goal. Throughout the interview process, you should have uncovered what that goal is and market yourself as being the right person to help the company reach these goals because you have both the hard skills and the soft skills to do it.
When you start, get with your manager and define your onboarding plan, reiterate the goal you’re working to achieve, and outline the milestones you’ll be expected to reach. And if you’ve already been in your new role for a few weeks or so, it’s not too late to start!
Start by asking some questions of your superior(s) which will clearly define why you are there and what problem(s) you are trying to solve. Ask the following 5 questions to your boss when starting your new job:
- What do you expect me to accomplish in the next 30 days, 90 days, 180 days?
- Set goals with your superior and measure your progress. Document anything that may hinder you from reaching those goals.
- How do you see my position helping us reach these big goals?
- Learn how your position and your team contribute to them.
- What measures do we currently have in place to track [the goal you were hired to reach], and where do you feel there are gaps in our processes?
- Find out what they feel is working and where improvements are needed. Work to improve these major gaps, then refine the processes for a smooth outcome.
- How do our clients provide us feedback, and what teams are responsible for clarifying and implementing that feedback?
- You’re showing that you’re interested in how customers guide the product/service and how your team can potentially help impact those changes.
- Bonus: Can I listen in on some support calls to understand what our clients call in about and how we help them overcome hurdles?
- I’ve never had a superior tell me no, or that it wasn’t applicable to my job. In fact, every single one has loved this idea!
Every role in the organization can benefit from asking these simple questions. This coupled with understanding the organization’s mission will guide you through navigating the first few months in your new role.
Connect with other teams
In order to make an impact, learn how your role works with other teams. One of the biggest mistakes a new employee can make is to remain insular, to not be interested in the potential internal partnerships that can form, or to ignore how their role affects others in the organization. While it’s not always feasible to create strong interdepartmental bonds in larger organizations, finding ways to connect with others when possible will give you stronger insights into other areas of the business, and how your team affects their success.
I cannot stress this enough. You could be an absolute rockstar data analyst or an expert at closing major deals, but if you’re not vested in the success of other teams, you’re not making an impact. Ask people questions about themselves and ask them what big project they’re currently tackling. Find out what excites them and what parts of their role are frustrating. You might find an opportunity to collaborate. If not, that’s ok – you’re building rapport. Be an advocate for others so they want to be an advocate for you.
Leaders may not always be the smartest person in the room, nor do they always carry the title, but they do have the people skills necessary to lead their team to big wins. Be invested in the success of other teams. You’ll find that others will be more willing to help you succeed, too.