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5 Things Black Professionals Can Do to Prepare for Their First 5 Days of Work

You’re starting your career or continuing your career with a new organization.  In preparation, you completed a number of onboarding tasks. On your first day, or at some point during the first week, you’ll likely participate in the organization’s orientation. You’ll complete a series of forms, learn the organization’s history, learn about health and welfare benefits, review company policies, and be bombarded with a bunch of other topics that are sure to thrill you.

While they may not be the most exciting part of starting a new job, New Employee Orientation programs serve an important purpose. In addition to acclimating new hires to the organization’s culture and providing useful information, the best ones are effective retention tools and aid in developing a more productive workforce.  

The more comprehensive programs extend beyond one day.  Many are designed to get the new employee through a ninety-day probationary period and include one week, thirty day, sixty day, and ninety-day milestones.  The way you assimilate into an organization sets the tone for your overall success and satisfaction. Likewise, the first impression you provide of yourself also sets a tone for the type of employee you will be.

To put your best foot forward, here are five things you can do in the first five days.   

Be on time.  

Every department in every workplace has a person who’s designated themselves as timekeeper. For whatever reason, this person thinks it’s their duty to monitor and report everyone’s comings and goings. I encourage you to stay off of their radar by being on time.  Prior to your start date and during what will be your regular travel time; do a dry run of the route you will take to work to determine how much time it takes to get from your door to your seat. For extra assurance, have an alternative route as well.

Dress for success.

Deciding what to wear to work used to be a big time suck for me. There are far too many times that I wound up wearing something that wasn’t on par with the image I was trying to project because I was forced to rush to ensure I was on time.  To fix this problem, I adopted and adapted the practice of wearing a “uniform”.  I wore a dress every day for 3 months. The practice not only saved time but was empowering and gave me a renewed sense of control.  If a “uniform” is adverse to your personal style, you can do what some of my friends do.  Some plan their outfits for the entire week while others do so the night before.

Personalize your workspace.

A significant portion of your day will be devoted to preparing for, traveling to and from, and being at work. Incorporating personal items into your workspace improves productivity, can encourage socialization with coworkers who have similar interests and helps you bond with your new environment.  I’m not suggesting you go overboard.  A framed photo or two, desk accessories in your favorite color, a plant, and/or objects pertaining to your outside interests (fraternity, sorority, favorite sports team, favorite actor/actress, etc) can provide the necessary comfort.  

Establish expectations with your supervisor.

Schedule a time to talk to your supervisor or team lead to determine what you are expected to accomplish leading up to your first official performance review. This will help you to prioritize tasks, set goals, and identify opportunities for development.  It is also a good idea to determine the way in which you should solicit feedback on your performance outside of the planned review period(s).  

Create a Routine.

There will be people you encounter at work who appear to have it all together.  They carry themselves as if Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” is based on them. One thing these people have in common is that they are strategic, proactive planners.  Your routine should start as soon as you turn off your alarm.  It can include things like meditation, prayer, eating breakfast, and going to the gym.  Decide if you will bring or buy your lunch and what time you will eat.  Add reminders to your calendar so that you take breaks throughout the day.  Get in the habit of meeting one person a week who is not in your immediate work group as means to expand your network.   Lastly, have fun! Before you know it, you’ll be one of the people that new hires view as having it all together.  

This article was written by Keirsten Greggs, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. who specializes in corporate recruiting. 

 If you would like to connect with Keirsten check out the following links:
Instagram: @TrapRecruiter
Twitter: @K_Alea
LinkedIn: Keirsten A. Greggs