I recently made a job transition during the COVID-19 pandemic.
So many colleagues have asked me about this transition and felt, “it must have been hard during COVID.”
But instead, it has been invigorating.
Onboarding in a new company is always challenging, made even more so thru COVID. I focused on three areas that I found most helpful and rewarding in my transition, however, these can be applied in any stage of the career journey.
Listen, Learn & Engage
The listening tour:
I was so excited to jump right in. As much as I wanted to show up and tell everyone everything about myself and what I’ve done, I kept imagining the Charlie Brown wha wa wa wha wa wa…this is really what it feels like doesn’t it when it is a one-sided conversation?
The best advice I received in my 1st 90 days is to focus on the people. To me that meant listening to them. What I found was that most of the 1 on 1 meet and greets went so quickly that we set up further 1 on 1 sessions. Some wanted to tell me about their personal selves, I even met some of their children and pets – virtually of course. Others shared their professional journey and wanted to know more about my experiences. My advice is to be prepared to both listen quietly, and listen actively, by asking what and how questions allowing them to talk, depending on the preference of the individual. Thanks to video conference, it is much easier to observe cues from others as to their communication style.
Be a student of the business:
I always loved the phrase “be a student of the business”. This can generate new ways of working and new ideas, keeping us from getting set in our ways. This may come in the form of getting out from behind the computer and into the field, reading articles, taking a course or networking with others.
In my transition, I subscribed to relevant industry news, virtual seminars and found walking stores with teammates and colleagues, early on, to be most energizing. Probing deeper into the business, I started asking for feedback, demonstrating that I want to collaborate and be challenged. I believe the best working environment is one where ideas are shared and refined together. If I can lead with that approach, others will feel freer to do the same and not fear feedback or constructive criticism.
Lastly in this section, I encourage you to learn from your network. There are so many amazing, talented individuals who want to help others be successful. If you don’t have a strong, vast network, start with building relationships and get in touch with past co-workers or sign up and join a network of interest.
Fill your engagement bucket:
Now, more than ever, most of us feel a lack of connectivity or engagement with others.
I want to encourage you to find a way to get involved in your community or your company’s employee resource groups (ERG’s).
Being new to an organization, I was interested in finding ways to meet others beyond my immediate working team. By taking on a leadership role in our Women’s Coalition employee resource group at Ocean Spray, I have quickly built relationships with others that I would not have met in this virtual environment. We have established a mission, built a committee, and facilitated events over the last year that are deepening connections and fostering the right dialogue in our organization. I have found that it does not have to feel like “adding more work to your plate”, if you find the work to be filling your engagement bucket.
In the end, what really matters? Show you care and be invested in the people and the business. It’s easy to forget that beyond the work, we’re all human. Finding connectivity in the work and the people we work with, can bring you closer to the joy, and closer to goals you set for yourself.
*Sales Director, Walmart – Ocean Spray Cranberries
*Title and company of the author reflect their position at the time article was written
The opinions expressed here by guest bloggers are their own, not necessarily those of Stout Executive Search