Yet another career/work related post, while I seek inspiration on the next technical article.
Here you go again. You’re joining a new company, you have this job you’ve dreamed of for so long, or you’ve joined the company you’ve always craved to work for. You’ve made a serious enough impression on your recruiting manager and whoever interviewed you and you’re finally in. Despite your experience and skills, you’re joining a new organization and you’re now the FNG. If you’re not based in the US, just search for FNG on Wikipedia to understand.
As the FNG you now have to blend in, get ready for work and get rid of the customary onboarding annoyances while trying to understand the company (or at least the division) you work for, the do’s and don’ts, who does what etc.
Based on my own past FNG experience, so your mileage may vary. The topics below will vary greatly from organisation to organisation, bear in mind that in some cases you will work directly with your team being immediately present at the same place, in other cases you will work in virtual teams with folks across the globe.
- Get your access sorted out, your laptop, your regular account, you’ll probably have to go through an induction session before you get these anyways
- make sure you talk to your boss as soon as you’re done with the induction session and have him designate not only the key contacts (those who will bring you up to speed and help you get stuff sorted out) but also to give you a quick overview of the team and the slightly larger context within the organisation
- It’s good to have your boss nominate a mentor who will guide you, perform some knowledge transfer sessions and will bring you up to speed
- Get to know your neighbors, introduce yourself shortly. Identify if there is anyone from your immediate team – or at least extended team / service line / organisation in the vicinity. They may provide you precious help through informal discussion. Ask them if you can join them for a coffee for example.
- If there was no “office tour” during the induction session, there’s nothing wrong with asking your new neighbors or colleagues the basics: where the restrooms are, where the kitchen is located, where the printer is etc.
- Have a quick grasp at your environment, the people, the atmosphere: is it noisy here, or quiet and silent? Check for people who may have confcalls/headsets. It’s not polite to speak loudly when people around you may have important calls. If you need to chat for whatever reason and someone near you is having a call, either tone it down, go to a meeting room or to a kitchen
- Install any potential applications you may need, set up your phone with the necessary apps etc. – I am personally a partisan of strict work/private life segregation, so no emails on my personal phone, and no work phone
- Ensure you touch base with the key folks very early in your first week: get to understand firsthand what accesses are needed, what trainings are needed, try to figure out if there is an onboarding process in place that details every single step. Some organisations will guide you step-by-step, others will leave you on your own and to get things sorted out you will depend on your ability at requesting people’s assistance as well as their ability to provide it. In case of roadblocks, reach out to your boss.
- Have daily meetings with your mentor to understand the organisation, the role & responsibilities of your team and how it all fits in the big picture.
- Enroll in any PKI infrastructure for electronic signature (if relevant). In organisations which have adopted electronic signature/certificates you will likely need this up and running asap and you may end up using it on a fairly regular basis.
- If your work requires elevated privileges, get guidance from your mentor/team on how to obtain eventual local admin rights and an elevated account.
- Start taking any trainings early, the more time goes on the more you’ll be sollicited.
- Corpspeak and Acronyms: every organisation have their own jargon, acronyms etc. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, an acronym may mean an application, a department, an abbreviation… you’ll save more time asking upfront than shutting up and trying not to look stupid.
- You’ll probably have people starting organizing meetings with you and discuss about a ton of things you don’t have a single clue about. Take notes. Take more notes. Ask questions. And ensure you take notes on Onenote or Evernote so you can organise them later on.
- Have a discussion with your boss to inform him about how things are going. Check with him and/or the other team folks what the regular meetings are. Make sure you get invited to each of these. Listen carefully, take notes. It may not be appropriate to jump into every single topic to ask what’s going on. Better to take notes about every single thing you didn’t grab and have a one-to-one discussion with your mentor. Remember: your mentor was designated by your boss to bring you up to speed on things, don’t be afraid to ask them.
- Focus on getting you trainings completed and follow up on your access requests.
- It would be a good time to check for any service rosters, team diagrams etc, lookup people, try to remember names and put names on faces.
- You may consider creating an ‘FNG’ document with links to systems, names, abbreviations, etc.
- As your access requests get processed/approved, test that these are properly working and make sure you request a team member or your mentor from showing you how the system is operated. You may not have issues with vCenter for example but handling an ITSM system or CMDB system may be tricky.
- Check that you are properly added to any relevant email distribution groups.
- By the end of your third week you should be fully done with any trainings plus any access requests.
- While it may seem trivial, it may be worth having an alignment meeting with your mentor so you can checkout which trainings/access requests/onboarding activities were completed. In the larger context it may also be good to check with your boss to see if your mentor didn’t miss anything.
- Make sure that you request to your mentor and team a list of every single relevant web system that will be needed to perform your activities. Ensure these are listed not only in your FNG group but try also to group these in your browser. Speaking of browsers, ensure you also have an alternative to IE if your corporate environment runs on Windows.
An initial period of three weeks should be sufficient, but in some cases it may well take 1 to 2 months before a resource is fully operational, and a couple more months before they can navigate without troubles in the environment. A proper and efficient onboarding will help reduce the eventual cultural shock when joining a new company.
What is your own experience? Is there something you want to share on these matters? Feel free to comment!