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Joanna Samuels, M.Ed., CMF, CTDP, RRP

Five techniques to be a successful new employee

Dear Joanna

After a long and hard road, I finally got a job offer of my dreams as a receptionist. I am so excited and want to make sure that I can keep the job, and learn how to be a successful new employee. I would like to stay at this company for the rest of my working life! Do you have any practical suggestions?

Signed: Excited employee

Dear Employee

Congratulations on your new job! Patrick Bramm, the supervisor of Reena’s supported employment and day program Channels South as well as being an expert job developer and job coach, presents the top five most important practical techniques that can help you get started with turning your job into a long term and meaningful career.

1. Be eager to learn. At the beginning you will be learning how to solve problems, how to use the computer software and phone lines, how to multi-task, work in a team, and use your time efficiently, to name a few. Consider yourself as an adult learner or student. Ask lots of questions to learn about the job. Participate in as many training opportunities as possible on the job. If you need to more time to learn a task, ask for a mentor or an opportunity to job shadow another employee in the same or similar role. Be as self-directed as possible with learning new tasks even if it means staying after work to study. Be open to feedback and constructive criticism.

2. Understand the workplace culture. Follow the companies’ policies and rules. Listen very carefully to the conversations of your co-workers and managers. For example, what do we say on the phone? How do the co-workers interact? Does everyone have lunch together? Do employees socialize after work? How do employees interact between departments, from office to office? What is the preferred way to communicate with each person and your manager? Make sure you understand the expectations of your manager and team regarding your tasks. You may need to ask for clarification from your manager. If you have to write it down, do so.

3. Be friendly, positive and meet new people. Treat everyone with respect. Don’t swear or tease or tell racists or sexist jokes or flirt. Stay away from any gossip or negative conversations. Always have a smile, be positive and ready to help out. And keep growing your network within the organization and externally as well. Use social media like Linkedin to continue meeting professionals in your field. Share information that you think would be valuable to your team. For example, if there is a new app for scheduling that you know about, pass it along to your manager and then see about circulating it around to the other employees in your department.

4. Be punctual, reliable, responsible. Show up for work on time. If you can’t because you are sick or late, then let your manager know by calling or texting him or her. Make sure the manager has confirmed receipt of your message.

5. Go the extra mile but be careful. Do more that you are asked once you have learned the basics. If you don’t have anything to do, ask your managers for additional tasks or permission to offer your assistance to other employees who could use your help. Don’t assume that you can do this. Again, this is an unspoken rule of conduct in the workplace culture. Look for ways to make your team or manager’s work easier. For example, if you are a finished your data entry duties, suggest to your manager that you are available to help with the filing for your co-worker who needs this help.

Good luck with your new job and don’t forget to celebrate your success!


to submit your questions and comments to this column IN CONFIDENCE, please email [email protected].

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About Joanna Samuels

Joanna Samuels
Joanna Samuels, M.Ed., CMF, CTDP, RRP is the Employment Resource Specialist at Her expertise is in job development, job coaching, and workshop facilitation with people with disabilities and multi-barriers as well as staff training. Also, Joanna helps employers with diversity recruitment and selection, is a published author and columnist, as well as a certified Life Skills Coach, and certified Personality Dimensions Facilitator.

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