Onboard yourself. How to prepare for your first day at a new job?

Michalina Grzesiak
19 February 2020
4 min read

After making the decision about changing your job, you’ve successfully passed the recruitment process, you know some things about the company, you’ve accepted the conditions and have already signed a contract... what next? Well, it (as always) depends. Your new employer should provide you with information about the next steps, meetings and conditions but companies tend to prepare differently to welcome a new person. Still the awareness of a need to prepare the so-called “onboarding” is not as wide on the market as it may seem.

So, what can you do to get into a new office without stress? “Onboard” yourself! How do you do it? Just realize what you should learn and what to expect at first. In order to make it smoother for you, we've created this self-onboarding checklist - feel free to use it.

Confirm the conditions

After accepting the offer, you should receive a letter of intent or other document confirming the conditions. Often, the employer also presents the draft of the contract — this is the moment to negotiate some provisions of the agreement. 

Make sure that the terms and conditions of your contract are understood and accepted by both parties before starting at the new company. Sign the contract no later than the first day at the new office.

At SDH, after you’ve signed the contract, shaken hands and closed the office doors behind you, there goes a “bang!!”, sound from the special gong announcing a new teammate coming soon. And it’s all thanks to you! 

Know the start date

You should know when your first day at work is and what time to show up at the office. Information on who to refer to and what is your plan for the day would be useful too. 

Usually, it’s the role of the person, who guided you through the recruitment process — someone from the HR Department or future Team Leader to inform you about the first day in the company. If for some reason no one will contact you with this information, write an email or call your contact person. 

When it comes to SDH, our recruiters at Startup House provide you with a first-day schedule at least 2–3 days before your start. If you have to travel to Warsaw, we will help you with tickets and accommodation. 

Okay, next thing on the list checked. Rest as much as possible, do something nice for yourself and be ready :)

Get started

First day. It would be good to know more about company culture or history than you’ve heard during the recruitment process and get some basic information: how to get to the office every morning (key, entrance card?), what’s the wifi password, where is your desk? At some companies, someone will plan meetings for you with these guidelines and you may receive a culture book with the necessary information or read about it on the company intranet. 

What is very important for your success in the new job, is to set up onboarding goals and tasks for the near future with your supervisor. Learn how you will measure advancement in implementing your responsibilities. If you start with a trial period, try to find out what will be important in evaluating your progress and decide on a contract extension. If you both haven't written down your findings, you can send your supervisor a summary of the conversation.

If you are assigned to a specific project, you will probably want to find out what it is about and what is currently going on. The person who will provide you with this knowledge is usually the Project Manager. You'll be in touch every day, but once you get started with the project, you may need an extra "one on one" meeting. Just schedule it in their calendar. Your PM will surely appreciate your commitment. 

During the first day at SDH, we organize a series of meetings for a new person to help you implement yourself in different aspects of your work. This is the time reserved by your interlocutors especially for you, so use it 100%. Feel comfortable (we are all friendly people) and ask as many questions as you need. 

Settle down in the office

A day at the office is not just about work. You probably start your day with coffee, so the coffee machine manual is mandatory. Just like visiting the kitchen and getting to know the lunch habits of the rest of the team. Do they bring their own meals, order food or go out? Which restaurants in the area do they recommend and which are better to avoid? In the first few days, it's worth finding the most helpful person in the team and sticking to them. 

At SDH, you don’t have to find this guy for yourself. We'll assign you a Buddy. It's a person who is to introduce you to everyday life in the company, usually holding a similar role to you. They will start by showing you around the office, introducing you to the team, telling how to use the kitchen equipment, will show you our knowledge base and help you with the tools and messengers used in the company. Seriously, ask them everything. Twice if you need it. 

Next “first days” 

This process usually takes 1–3 days. You'll be busy, have no time to think. Everyone involved in your onboarding tries hard to make this process useful and pleasant, but not everything goes according to plan, it will not be perfect. 

Then it's time to take care of the target duties and it can be difficult for you. You don't remember where to find some information, it turns out that you lack some access, each attempt to do anything yourself multiplies only the next questions. 

We don’t have a wonderful solution for you. It's normal. In these first days, you may feel intimidated, helpless — allow yourself this. Even if in the previous office you were the life and soul of the party, you may have difficulty finding a common language with colleagues at the beginning. It's also fine — all you have to do is just be nice, nothing more. Give yourself time, cooperate with your team, ask, ask, ask and it will be fine.


Good luck with a new job!

If you want to join our team, please see our open positions: https://start-up.house/en/careers

Or if you are already preparing for a recruitment, you can find here our tips how to do it well :) 

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