How to Optimize Your Onboarding Through Proactive Participation

 Marketing Director   August 7, 2023  Career Advice

Higher ed professional onboarding for new job, participating in a team meeting.

You worked so hard to land your new job, and now it’s finally about to start – which means it’s also time to ready yourself for the organization’s onboarding process. Now is no time to coast. To maximize this phase, your proactive participation will be key. Onboarding is not just about learning how things work at the company, it’s also about setting yourself up for success. This blog will focus on some practical ways to be a proactive participant so that you lay the groundwork for long-term growth at your new company.

Start with a Positive Mindset

First things first, be “on” for your first day. Get your sleep, grab your coffee, and ready yourself for an enthusiastic and productive first day. The importance of entering with a positive mindset can’t be stressed enough. Leverage the positive energy that landed you the job in the first place to be a hands-on participant in your onboarding process. After all, this initial phase will set the tone for your journey at your new company.

Proactively Participate in Orientation Meetings

You’ll likely end up in a group meeting or two, and even if asking questions in a group isn’t your thing, challenging yourself to participate will be key. So, be curious and ask questions. Whether it’s about team dynamics, leadership, or policies and procedures, your engagement will show your genuine interest in making a positive impact. These early meetings are also a great place to meet other new hires and company veterans. Use that curiosity to engage with other team members. These early connections will go a long way in creating a supportive work environment.

Schedule Key One-One Meetings

Typically, your manager will have some meetings already set up for you, or at least a recommended list of other staff members they want you to meet with during your orientation. Don’t stop there. As you meet with people and learn more about projects and the company, listen for name-dropping and add those names to your list of people to meet with. You’ll be surprised at how much more well-rounded your onboarding will be when you can get even more perspectives. Not only will you become acquainted with more people in the organization from the get-go, you’ll also have a head start in terms of knowing the key stakeholders for each of the projects you may be involved with.

Ask for What You Need

If there are specific resources you know you’ll need to feel prepared and empowered in your new role, or that you know will enhance your productivity, don’t hesitate to communicate your preferences to HR or your manager. It may be something as simple as ensuring you have the latest software to be successful in your role. Or, it might be something about the environment you know you’ll excel in. For example, if you’re the type of person that will need a quiet space to get things done a few hours a week, you can respectfully request this. It may be uncomfortable for a minute, but asking at the beginning of your journey will help others know your needs and get to know you.

Say “Yes!” to Invitations and Joining Groups

Several companies have optional groups, meetings, and activities for employees. Some of these may be directly related to your job functions while others may be general team building activities. These get harder to attend the busier you get in your new role. Now is a good time to say “yes” as much as possible. Do it while you have a little more time; plus, these are opportunities to meet even more people. Go ahead and click “accept” on that invite or say “yes” when your new coworker asks you out for lunch or coffee.

Exploring Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and other types of committees is another great way to get plugged in and meet people with similar interests. Ask about these during onboarding and you’re bound to find your fit. Common topics may include Health and Wellness, Corporate Social Responsibility, and even social/networking clubs. Joining one of these groups fosters a sense of belonging and community among employees with shared backgrounds, interests, or experiences. In the case of ERGs, they also promote diversity and inclusion by advocating for underrepresented groups and driving awareness about important issues. Use that curiosity to inquire and get involved.

The onboarding process is a critical phase in any new job, and actively participating during this time can significantly impact your success and satisfaction in the new company. By embracing a positive attitude, actively engaging with your new colleagues, staying curious, and asking for what you need, you can make connections, integrate with the team, and arm yourself with the support you’ll need to thrive.

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About the Author: Sara Jane Todd is a marketing and communications professional with 20+ years of experience across various disciplines and industries. Sara’s biggest passion is developing clear, concise, compelling messaging and branding—ensuring a consistent voice across all marketing touchpoints. She believes that same philosophy applies to how you market yourself.