5 Ways to Successfully Navigate Company Culture

Fitting in and, at the same time, learning a new job can be stressful and awkward, but here are five ways you can make the transition easier.

It’s your first day on the job. You may know a few people, but you have no clue what it’s really like to work at your new company. What are the people like? How do your new co-workers interact and get along? Will it be easy to fit in?

You were likely hired because the company believes you are the best fit for their values and that you can do the job. Fitting in and, at the same time, learning a new job can be stressful and awkward, but here are five ways you can make the transition easier.

1. Do Your Research

Use your network, acquaintances, the internet or just simple word of mouth to find out as much information as possible about your new job before you start. Some workplaces are more traditional and some are more progressive and cutting edge. The culture you’ve become accustomed to in your old job may be much different; prepare yourself as much as possible so you’re not surprised on your first day.

2. Be Observant and Look at Your Surroundings

Your first look into company culture is the introductory stroll around the office. Yes, it’s uneasy, and yes, people are looking curiously at the newbie, but it’s your opportunity to observe simple things like how the physical layout of the office will influence your job. Are there cubicles or is it an open space? Are people quiet and tending to work individually, or do you see movement and open collaboration? Are managers and supervisors accessible or behind closed doors? Your first impression is important, and paying close attention to those early cues will let you know what you’ll need to navigate during your first days on the job.

3. Ask Questions

You probably asked about the basics of office culture during your interview, but there are still a lot of unanswered questions. Being the new person at work for a week or two is never easy, so the questions you ask are important in learning how the company operates and getting an idea of how you’ll be expected to contribute to workplace culture. It’s very important to be humble enough to ask even the “stupid” questions, be willing to listen to the answers and adjust to office norms. Those initial questions are not only helpful, but they will let your coworkers and managers know more about you and your priorities.

4. Start Building Relationships Right Away

One of the first things you’ll do is meet your new coworkers, so you need to be open and ready to start new relationships. Your fellow employees have been with the company for some time and know the ins and outs. You will be depending on your peers to get you through the first few weeks, so take some risks, get out of your comfort zone and make yourself available, approachable and inquisitive. These early relationships will be some of the most meaningful as you grow into your new job and beyond.

5. Use Your Experience

Unless it’s your first job, you probably have worked in several different types of office cultures. You may find that many of your past experiences will carry over into your new job. Just remember you’ve been there before, and with the right mindset, you can do it again and be successful.

Good luck and congrats on the new job!

Krista is a Creative Circle candidate, creative writer and content creator in Los Angeles. Her background includes news, marketing, copywriting and editing. If you are interested in working with Krista, please contact Creative Circle LA.