A new president’s first 100 days in office is typically seen as a benchmark of sorts that sets the stage for the rest of their presidential tenure. During this time, they typically continue to build out their cabinet, sign executive orders and begin overseeing new legislation. Much like a new president, transitioning into a new career can bring a flurry of change including relationship building, learning about your new job and setting goals.
Starting a new job as we continue to endure the effects of COVID-19 may pose additional, unique challenges including the fact that you may be doing so remotely without the ability to meet any of your new colleagues in person.
There are, however, several steps you can take to succeed in your new job during COVID-19. In this article, we’ll outline the steps you should take in your first 30, 60 and 90 days in a new job.
Related: How To Start a New Job Virtually
Tips for starting a new job during COVID-19
As you start your new job, it's important to achieve a good balance — meeting new people, making a great first impression and asking good questions while not putting too much pressure on yourself to get it all right. Starting a new job comes with a learning curve — something both your managers and colleagues have experienced before and understand.
Here are several tips for succeeding in your first few months in a new job:
Establish a plan with your manager.
While you will likely have several check-ins with your manager at first, taking advantage of your time with them can help you set expectations and goals for your first 100 days. To get the most use out of your time, you might ask questions such as:
- What helped you get up to speed when you started your job here?
- Who would you recommend I meet over the next few weeks and months?
- Can you tell me about what you expect from me in my first 30, 60 and 90 days?
- How does my role play into the goals of the team? The organization? The company?
- Are there any existing goals for me and my position?
If your manager hasn’t already, you should also ask them if you can set up weekly check-ins during your first few months on the job. It can be useful to continue holding ongoing one-on-ones with your manager on a weekly or biweekly basis, especially while you’re remote.
Communication becomes more difficult virtually, so connecting regularly can help ensure you’re aligned with your manager on goals and spending your time the right way. It also offers you uninterrupted time to ask questions, share any roadblocks you’re experiencing and request resources you need to do your job well.
Set goals for your first few months in the job.
Starting a new job brings new professional relationships, responsibilities and exciting opportunities. A 30-60-90 day plan is a great way to create goals so you can feel confident as you master your new role.
SMART goals are also a great way to ensure you’re accomplishing priority onboarding tasks and moving at the right pace into your new role.
Get access to and familiarize yourself with company communications.
If you don’t have one from your manager, put together a list of priority tasks you need to complete in order to get started on your job. This may include:
- Access to company networks
- Access to company communications and intranet
- Access to important documents including goals and information
Ask your manager and/or colleagues about the best ways to communicate daily with people around the business. There may be some sort of standard culture of communication in which you can easily reach people may it be email, chat or phone. If your company uses a chat service, such as Slack, ask for recommendations about which channels you should join, both for business and fun.
Meet everyone you can.
Meeting new people and building working relationships is a key part of succeeding in your first few months. If you’re working remotely due to COVID-19, communication will likely be more challenging.
Rohan Needel started a new job remotely in April 2020 as a data analyst and still has yet to meet his new co-workers in person. “When you start a new job in person, people usually come and introduce themselves to the new person in the office — virtually, I’ve found it's more my responsibility to make introductions,” says Needel.
Needel recommends introducing yourself to people all over the business: “You're in a unique position as a new hire because people expect you to ask a ton of questions and meet as many new people as possible — take advantage of it and learn as much as you can.” He also set up weekly office hours in case people wanted to schedule time with him as well.
You might prepare a short elevator pitch including your name, team, role and responsibilities including priority tasks or projects. You could also prepare a list of questions to ensure you get the information you need, such as:
- How did you end up in this job?
- What do you do?
- What are your goals?
- What do you enjoy most about your job?
- How can I help you reach your goals?
- How do you expect we might work together?
- How have you worked with others on my team in the past?
- What do you find most challenging about your role?
- Who else do you recommend I introduce myself to?
Needel recommends introducing yourself to people all over the business: “You're in a unique position as a new hire because people expect you to ask a ton of questions and meet as many new people as possible—take advantage of it and learn as much as you can.” He also set up weekly office hours in case people wanted to schedule time with him as well.
Make learning your top priority.
Equipping yourself with the right information can help you decide on the most impactful ways to spend your time every day. After accessing and reading any available information about the company products, teams, mission, goals, competitors, vision and structure, you can also ask your new teammates for recommended reading, resources or presentations.
As discussed above, connecting with people is also a great way to learn quickly: “I asked to be included in every meeting I could. It felt like the easiest, quickest way to meet the people I’d be working with, their roles and responsibilities and also to learn about all aspects of the business,” says Needel.
Be patient with yourself and others.
It should also be said, however, that you may have to be patient when asking questions virtually. Needel explained that getting feedback is another remote communication challenge: “In person, you can ask questions and get immediate answers — virtually, it could take hours, so it can sometimes feel like you’re behind.”
Needel also mentioned, however, that both his manager and co-workers were extremely understanding of the situation: “Building relationships was difficult and took more time, but my co-workers were very open and understanding. The responsibility was on me for much of my onboarding, but everyone knew it was a different situation than anything anyone had experienced before.”