Starting a role at a large organisation can be daunting. That’s why making connections is so important. Without them, we can feel like small fish swimming in a very big pond.
Here are five ways to meet new people at work.
Everyone loves an after school special, so it’s time to get extracurricular. Find out if there’s a company Softball Club, lunch time Spanish classes, or Monday evening Yoga. No luck? Start your own. Do your homework first though: find out what activity there’s an appetite for and what the process is for clearing it with HR or security.
Different buddy systems are approached in different ways and therefore the focus could vary from personal development to top tips on where’s good for lunch nearby. Do spend some time thinking about what it is you’re hoping to gain from your buddy experience. Do you need someone who has been at the organisation for a long time to show you the ropes? Would you prefer to meet someone at a similar level to you or more senior? Is it important that your buddy is from a team you’ll be working quite closely with or is this a chance to learn about an entirely different side of the organisation? So long as your buddy and you are both clear on what’s needed, it doesn’t matter too much if the main purpose is career-led, centres on orientation or a bit of both.
There’s no harm in meeting first, before either of you commit to a formal buddy or mentor system. In fact, chemistry meetings are quite common in the workplace since they offer both parties an opportunity to gauge how well they are suited. It might be that you have quite different personalities or availability – so it’s best to find out if your expectations are aligned from the get-go.
Inductions are a great way to find out what different teams do. As a new starter, your team might helpfully set you up on a few. However, that shouldn’t stop you continuing to make connections. If there’s a particular team you’re curious about then suggesting a 30-minute chat over coffee can be very effective in quenching that thirst for knowledge. As well as helping you build a picture of who does what, you’ll also have a chance to ask those burning questions.
If you’re not familiar with Personal Development Plans, then it’s time to get cracking. They are brilliant at helping you identify key skills you want to develop and setting a SMART goal for each skill will break down a seemingly broad focus areas into something more tangible. For example, if you want to hone your Presenting Skills your first action could be: attend 10 presentations in the first 3 months and record in your notebook one element you liked, and one you didn’t from each. Now, this next part is absolutely essential: write down which person in the organisation you want to approach for support with each action. Ideally, you’ll choose different people for each action as this will help build your network. Also, take into consideration how you think they could support you - thinking about the specifics of who and how will make success more likely.
Ellen Smyth writes graduate careers advice for Inspiring Interns, a graduate recruitment agency specialising in matching candidates to their dream internship. Check out their graduate jobs listings for roles. Or; if you’re looking to hire an intern, have a look at their innovative Video CVs.
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