How to Adapt to a New Workplace

Questions for Your HR Manager

Your HR manager may be able to give you an idea of what to expect with your new colleagues.
Your HR manager may be able to give you an idea of what to expect with your new colleagues.

The first thing you'll want to do when starting your new job is to learn the company's policies. Do they offer a flexible time schedule? How do they view working at home? What is the policy about personal days off? How should you handle travel and other expenses? Don't assume the policies will be the same as those at your previous job.

In addition to getting a clear, formal job description, you should tap your human resources manager to learn as much as you can about your duties. What is expected of you? What should your objectives be on the job? What does success look like for this job?

The HR manager can be helpful in clarifying the lines of authority in the company. He or she will let you know the person you should report to. But you'll also want to know whether it's acceptable to go outside regular channels to get things done. How much authority do you have to tap the resources of other departments? How often should you report to your boss? What are your supervisor's main objectives? What is his or her scope of authority?

You should also find out who will evaluate your performance. How often are reviews conducted? What are the criteria by which you'll be judged? Who looks at the reviews, and how will they affect your advancement in the company? Is there any way to appeal a negative evaluation?

The HR manager can tell you who to turn to for help when you have a problem. What if difficulties arise with your boss? With coworkers? The manager might also be able to suggest people in the company who can serve as mentors. Identifying and connecting with an experienced executive outside your immediate chain of command who can give advice and guidance is especially valuable when you're starting out.

Finally, ask the HR manger: Where should I be headed? It's never too early to look at where your career path might take you. What jobs might open up for you? What's the likely timing of raises and promotions? What skills do you need to develop in order to advance?

Starting a new job can be an exciting and challenging experience. Read on for more information about the best ways to adapt in your new workplace.

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