BFW PicIt’s your first day on the job. But now comes the most critical part: your orientation and training. This is your chance to show your new employer that you are going to work out. Here are some helpful hints we recommend to get the most out of these important first days:

Attitude.What’s important is that you learn the company and the job – fast. They are making a big investment in you by taking someone away from their job and losing that productivity to show you the ropes and educate you about your new position. So, start with some mental housecleaning. Don’t try to justify your misconceptions with arguments about why you thought this or that. It’s not important. And similarly, don’t just parrot “got it” to everything they say because you think they expect you to instantly get it. They don’t, and as a matter of fact they will have more respect for you if you ask questions.

Big Picture. Look and listen for how your job fits in to the business process. Who is the customer? How do they buy your company’s products and services, how does your company produce them, and how does their money get to your paycheck? How does your job help make that happen? If they don’t tell you, ask. Understanding the big picture will make you much more valuable to the company.

Concepts.It’s more than just what and how, it’s why. Your ability to learn the concept behind the lessons you are taught is the key to making better decisions. Your ability to extrapolate will prepare you to apply the concept to a new situation. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Notes. Don’t try to remember everything that is said. Write it down. There is so much to learn at first, you can’t absorb it all verbally. Ask for info graphics, and if they don’t have them, make your own. Review your notes and make a list of new questions. When they see you taking notes they will have more confidence that you are serious.

Documents. Every job has a slew of documents from manuals to forms, policies and procedures, job descriptions to contract clauses and checklists. Get to know all of them, how to use them, and why they exist.

Command. Ask for an organization chart and study the chain of command to get a picture of your company’s organization.  Learn the outside companies and vendors your company depends on to conduct business. Learn who you will be working with and what their requirements are. Understand what approvals are required that effect your job and the lead times required.

Culture. Find out what is allowed and what isn’t. Learn how you are expected to dress. What permissions you are granted? Does your company have fun or is it more serious? Are mistakes frowned upon or seen as an opportunity to improve procedures? Are suggestions welcomed, and in what areas and through whom? Find out who can best answer your questions about history, management style, expectations and limitations.

Ownership. Don’t just attend work, own your job! Be responsible for its effective and dependable operation. Don’t let your boss have to tell you about something you’ve neglected. Don’t make excuses for mistakes or point fingers. If one doesn’t exist, make a list of all the reoccurring deadlines that happen during the year. Don’t depend on your boss to check your work. Check your own work. Do the maximum, not the minimum.

The orientation and training period is a two-way street. They tell you about the job and you ask questions. Good luck!