What to do when starting a job anew? Week one of my new job at uWaterloo is now complete. I have continued to ground my initial actions around three basic concepts that I first used in the interviews: Meet, Read and Observe. When describing this a little further in my conversations I've simply stated that I want to "meet as many people as I can inside and outside the department, read whatever material I can to give me a better understanding of what is happening and observe as many actions as possible so I know how things happen."
Actions related to meeting and reading are self-explanatory whereas observing could be interpreted in different ways. The most frequent example I've used to explain observing is: I would like to apply to residence. The marketing staff have also engaged me in an "Undercover boss" type video where I have been able to directly observe a variety of tasks across the department such as cleaning a washroom, working at a desk, inspecting a vacated unit, responding to email, live-chat and phone queries and updating the website.
Onboarding is one of the major projects currently underway in the department given the turnover that happens in a large housing department, especially in the residence life roles. As one of the early staff through the program I have benefited from some of planning that happened prior to my arrival. The major benefit has been the number of meetings that were already scheduled when I started. Day one involved most of the day with my supervisor. Day two included one-on-one meeting with my direct reports. Other actions in my first week included meeting staff around campus, getting set up to be paid, getting my WatCard. I also had time to get my digital brain set up which included setting up my voicemail, Outlook, Evernote and my computer in general.
GTD will continue to serve as the foundation for organizing my work. To enhance my approach I have recently subscribed to Harvard Business Review as well as Manager-Tools. I also found this great resource (from my previous employer) at Ryerson University: A Leader's Guide to Onboarding
What have you learned about onboarding in a new job or helping others onboard into a job on your team?
Image source: http://www.icims.com/blog/post/2009/09/17/Onboarding-at-Full-Throttle.aspx