You made it through the recruitment process successfully, and now it’s time to start the new job you worked so hard to get. As exciting as the first day is, the thought of meeting new co-workers often leads to anxiety as well. One of the most important, and often most stressful, aspects of starting off on the right foot is knowing how to connect with new colleagues in your company and begin building new relationships.
To help you make a great first impression, here are our top tips on how to break the ice at a new workplace.
Be the First to Introduce Yourself
As tempting as it may be, the first day is not the time to hunker down and keep to the background. To make a good first impression, it’s important to make the effort to be the first to say “hello” and introduce yourself. Even though an induction or office tour often provides the opportunity for a quick greeting, try not to rely on these alone – if you get the chance, engage in conversations at the coffee machine, lunchroom or when asking something from another team member.
Knowing what to say on your first day at work can be distressing, however, if you prepare a ‘go-to’ introduction ahead of time, you’ll find you can seamlessly connect with new colleagues. Practice a 30-second story about who you are and what you do. Over the course of the day and week, show an interest in your new team and ask them open-ended questions to foster dialogue – after all, most people like talking about themselves. Focusing on the things you may have in common will help you build a rapport.
Study the Organisational Chart
You may have mastered how to make friends at work, but can you recall all the new faces and names you’ve encountered? Do you know how everyone fits in or are they jumbled like pieces in a giant puzzle? An organisational chart is going to be a big help when understanding company structure and the people within it. Ask your supervisor for one and study the different teams, departments and managers.
When meeting new co-workers, consider making a note next to their name that will help you to remember them for next time. This could be anything from a specific quality, a play on their name or where you met them. It can also be a good idea to look up your co-workers’ LinkedIn profiles to find out a bit more about them. If you don’t want them to know you’re looking, simply switch your viewing mode to “private”. Remember to also connect with them on LinkedIn once you’ve met in person.
Eat with Your Co-Workers
What better way to connect with new colleagues than over a meal? Eating with team members is a quick way to break the ice and get beyond the office small talk because it provides a more casual setting with less pressure. Always try to accept when someone asks you to lunch or coffee and, if you feel comfortable, be the one initiating the offer!
Keep in mind that it doesn’t just have to be lunch. After-work dinners or drinks are great opportunities to get to know people outside of the professional environment – this is where real friendships form.
Ask for Help
Knowing how to make friends at work could be as simple as asking colleagues for help. When undertaking a new job, you are bound to have plenty of questions, and you can use this time to get to know colleagues. Discover what team members are good at, take time to compliment their capabilities and ask for advice on how you can improve. By nature, people thrive on being seen as experts and sharing their skills, whether it about a piece of software, a company process or even how to operate the coffee machine.
Another option is to find a mentor in the company to help light the way for a successful tenure within the business. Ideally, they should be an experienced employee, someone who has been with the company for a long time or someone in leadership (that is not your direct manager). Not only can they help whilst you’re new, but throughout your entire employment – potentially introducing you to more people, especially in other departments, which will lead to a greater professional network.
It’s natural to worry about the kind of impression you make in the first few days of a new role. Knowing how to break the ice at a new workplace, however, will help you connect with new colleagues quicker and make your time settling in more enjoyable. Starting a new job is exciting and shouldn’t be overshadowed by the stress that often comes with meeting new co-workers. Be patient, follow these tips, and in time, you will be a fully-fledged member of the team getting ready to welcome the next new starter!