You don’t have to be best friends with your co-workers, but it helps if you can form some close bonds and enjoy their presence. After all, you end up spending a lot of time together. And since more companies are prioritizing “cultural fit,” there’s a lot of pressure to fit in around the office. When you’re happy at work, you’re more engaged, more productive, and more successful. That said, fitting in doesn’t always happen overnight. Here are some tips on what to do if you’re not fitting in with the rest of your team.
Understand Your Job Requirements
As you start your new job, make sure you’re clear on the responsibilities and priorities right from the start. Understand how you should be allotting your time and attention and know how and when your performance will be evaluated. This is the first step to fitting in—your co-workers will raise an eyebrow if you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing. If you’re not sure, ask for help. Find a successful person in the company and ask them to mentor you.
Be the one to initiate a lunch invite, suggest a happy hour, and find common ground with your workmates. Participate in social conversations and make yourself seem more approachable. Once you form some personal bonds, your co-workers will feel more comfortable around you, and you’ll help develop mutual respect and congeniality.
Come Out of Your Shell
As the new person, it’s up to you to make the extra effort. You have to try harder than the rest, but making these connections is important. Be the hardest worker and accept new assignments even if the duties are totally within your realm. People will appreciate you and you’ll learn a lot more about your company.
Be a Good Observer
Notice what the environment is like and do your best to imitate so you can blend in. If you came from a really aggressive and competitive company before, you might need to tone it down to fit in at your new company. Pay attention to how people interact, how they resolve conflict, and how they communicate. Are they formal with one another? Or more casual? Note how people dress and how punctuality is treated. Some companies are lax about start times and deadlines, while others expect you to be early.
You probably have predetermined notions about what your new career will look like, but be flexible. Always be willing to help and be willing to adapt your expectations and your habits to what’s best for the company. When a colleague offers feedback or suggestions, be grateful. Even if you don’t think it’s the best advice, you want people to know you’re approachable and eager to grow. Remember that they’ve been in the company longer than you have, and their experience counts.
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