Joining a tech team
It doesn't matter if you’re an experienced specialist with many years of technical experience on your resume, or a newbie who’s just finished education, joining a new team is a challenge for anyone.
To make the most out of joining a new team, you need to figure out a way of coping with the natural stresses that this event brings about.
For example, you need to manage your anxiety level, address your nerves and prove to yourself that you can conquer this challenge. Additionally, you must also demonstrate your professional knowledge, communication skills and show your colleagues that you have the ability to interact with them properly.
Some individuals manage to do this faster than others. So, if you find it difficult to join a new team there are always things you can do to make this process far smoother. Join us as we talk about these points below.
The first day
The first day is when your colleagues will get their ‘first impression’ of you. It’s very important to try and do everything right on this day, as you will not have a second chance. That's why they call it the ‘first impression’. However, if things do go wrong you shouldn’t feel disheartened.
Traditionally, on day one a new employee is taken around the office by a manager or a senior colleague. If the company is small, everything will be simple and fast, and if the organization is large, be ready to take in a lot of information at once.
When you get introduced to your team, it’s important that you try to remember their names, write the names down if you need to. If your manager doesn't introduce you, get to know the team yourself. Join conversations and ask your team mates what they’re up to. The faster you do this, the easier it will be later on.
And if you do forget someone's name, just ask them again, don’t be afraid. People will understand that you have a lot to remember, and after all it’s only day one.
You should also make sure that you’re added to the company’s chat channel, CRM system, or any other virtual work environment that is used by the company. This will help you to stay connected with your team.
Take your time on day one and carefully study the corporate rules, and other internal documents governing the working order. You don’t want to start off by breaking a really important rule.
Also, on your first day you should find out where the kitchen, toilet, and any other rooms you may need to use later are located. You can ask your team about this, as it’s a great conversation starter.
The advice for the first day is simple – be active, get to know your colleagues and try to learn as much as possible about the procedures in the new place.
The first week
In your first week, it’s important for you to understand who does what in your team, what your responsibilities are, and how, when, and with whom you need to interact with. You will likely have to take notes of contact details and job titles at this point.
During your first week, although you want to make a good ‘first impression’, you shouldn’t push and rush to emphasize your skills and talents, even if you are more experienced and more confident than your new colleagues.
It’s wise to just watch what happens in the team first. And it’s important to understand how things work. Maybe the first impression you get from your colleagues is deceiving.
Basically, look and listen and don’t be too forceful or critical with your opinions and knowledge. This can immediately cause conflict. Plus, if you spend the first few days in your role studying the processes and respecting others, your colleagues will see that you’re a responsible and attentive employee.
On the other hand, if you have questions, you should ask them. If you don’t understand something it’s better to ask, rather than sit down and worry. Even if the question seems simple and stupid, ask it. After all, it’s better to make sure early on, rather than having to deal with the consequences of a misunderstanding later. Remember, you are new, so no one will judge you for asking questions.
If you do want to ask questions, you should choose the right moment to do so. For example, ask a question when your colleague isn’t busy with an urgent task. Moreover, you don’t have to ask your leader questions, anyone can help you.
In the early days of starting a new job, it’s difficult to keep up with all the new information you’re receiving. So it may be worth writing down notes in a folder, so you can refer back to them when you need to. These notes will help you to understand what and how your company works. This is especially true for large companies with complex interaction rules.
As a rule, there is always someone in the team who will agree to help you during your first week. Perhaps this is a previous newbie.
The first month
This is our advice for the first month: observe and draw conclusions.
At this stage, it’s important not only to understand how the work is organized, but also to accept the corporate culture, to understand the unwritten orders, and to finally merge into the team.
For example, in some teams that have been working together for a long time, a manager simply sets up a task on the board and one of the employees takes it. In this case, you as an employee will need to go and obtain your own tasks, which may not be a ‘traditional’ way of working. But, after a while you will get used to these new ‘traditions’.
Additionally, after your first month you want to ask for feedback from your coworkers and boss. You don’t need to ask individuals all the time, but you should make an effort to find out how people think you’re getting on. This will allow you to evaluate yourself from the outside. Plus, based on what people say, you’ll be able to see where you need to improve and what you’re doing well.
After a month you will be very familiar with the team, the atmosphere in the office and you will understand what, how, and who is responsible for what task.
After a month of work, you will not be perceived as a newbie by everyone. So, people may start sending more tasks your way. You should be able to fulfill your duties at this stage. And you should be able to help out with additional tasks.
There are occasions, of course, when an individual just doesn’t like the team. In this case, you should think about changing your place of work. Because, if you’re not happy at work or with your colleagues you’ll resent work, become stressed and you’ll not be motivated to work.
After working for several months, you’ll know more about your job, team and yourself.
Some more practical tips
These tips will help you to adapt to your new team easily:
- Go to lunch, tea breaks, parties, or any other informal meetings with colleagues. Maybe they will call you. If not, take the initiative and ask them. Communication outside the company will help you to get to know your new colleagues better, and people are more likely to talk openly on neutral ground.
- Find out how decisions are made. What management style is used: authoritarian, democratic, or something in between? Find out how much a manager listens to his/her subordinates, and whether they are ready to accept other people’s ideas.
- Find out your degree of freedom. This is a logical continuation of the previous one. You must clearly understand what you can do by yourself, and when you have to notify your manager and wait for a decision to be made. Figure this out as soon as possible.
- Stick to established unwritten rules. In a workplace you get rules that are written, these are, of course, formal. However, in an office you often get rules that everyone knows about, but they’re not actually written down. As a new employee you should observe and take note of these unwritten rules, so you don’t fall victim to them.
- Do not try to impose your own rules (at least not at first). Whatever your experience is, and no matter how you are used to doing certain things, you must accept the new order in your new place. “When in Rome do as the Romans do,” as they say. Perhaps later, when you move up the career ladder, and get some experience in this company, you will be able to change something. But if you start shouting and telling people what to do, they’ll most likely turn their back on you.
- Be yourself. This is simple and straightforward advice. Don't pretend to be someone you’re not. In time, if you try and pretend to be someone you’re not, you will quickly get tired and burn yourself out. Playing this role will annoy you and it’ll lead to unnecessary stress. Just be yourself.
- Don't let yourself fizzle out. Many people find working in tech interesting and exciting, but the fact is, there are a lot of systems and routines in this field to follow, which can be tiring. Plus, it's a sedentary job. Yes, large corporations like Google have game rooms and lounge areas, but this is an exception. It’s very important to take care of yourself and to avoid professional burnout at work.
We hope that our advice will help you to quickly and easily adjust into a new team. Work isn’t always about money, it’s also about job satisfaction. And this extends to being happy and comfortable within your team.
We wish you good luck in your new place of work!