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Starting a new job? 10 things you must know

October 21, 2019 08:30 IST

Understand your organisation's goals, be a team player and present a positive image by exuding enthusiasm and energy for work, says Surya Mahadevan.

What to do in your first job

Image published for representational purposes only. Photograph: Unsplash/Pixabay.com

Landing a good job is a dream for many. 

Your application and profile may have been shortlisted from scores of candidates who applied for the position.

While you have every right to be proud of your hard work and achievements, you must also value the fact that you were considered valuable for the organisation. 

Now it is your turn to prove your mettle.

If this is your first job, there are a few things you must understand before you set forth on your career journey.

1. Be a team player

Organisations operate on functional (department) lines and most activities are performed and decisions taken through interplay of multiple functions.

While studying/education is solo play, working in an organisation is all about team work.

When you join the organisation, you will need to brush up your interpersonal skills to balance assertiveness and amiability as you work in the team.

2. Alignment with reporting officer

Organisations lay great emphasis on discipline and this is enforced through hierarchy and reporting.

The reporting officer is accountable for the performance of all the employees reporting to him.

S/he carries the onus of training and briefing employees reporting to him/her and just as much has the prerogative to demand work out of them.

It is important that you follow the guidelines and work in congruence with the reporting officer or team leader assigned to you.

3. Work discipline

Almost all organisations require employees to follow discipline in terms of reporting time, taking leave, dress code etc.

In the induction phase, the guidelines may be shared or they may be part of the induction kit.  

If you haven't been briefed well, don't forget to seek information from HR department.

4. Create your personal equity and identity

  • Use decorous and correct language while communicating with all co-workers and avoid using slang and cuss words. 
  • Present a positive image by exuding enthusiasm and energy for work.
  • Engage with everyone with a cheerful disposition
  • Volunteer for any new initiative/activity
  • Use your company products yourself and reflect as a consumer.

5. Know about the organisation, product, people and processes

It’s good to know about the mission, values, history, key milestones, financials, promoters, senior management, products and processes.

Get as much information as available on the company’s website and engage with senior employees to know more.

When a company is part of a large group, it is also useful to know about other group companies and understand where your companies standing in the group

Understand the business model for your organisation: Revenue streams, cost characteristics, risk, opportunities, break-even levels and tipping points

6. Know your competitors

It is equally important to know about competitors for each product lines of your company and get the following details:

  • Company’s relative market share by volume and value, CAGR, EBIDTA margin, return on capital etc.
  • Relative capacity from production line to retail penetration
  • Brand Salience

You must study the brand leader in the category in greater detail.

7. Know the market and the economy

  • Understand your sales by geography, customer segments and price points.
  • Recognise the nature of demand for your product.
  • Growth trends by product category, customer segment and geography.
  • Penetration levels for your company’s product
  • Get a wider perspective about our economy and how the macro-economic variables can impact your industry/brand
  • Understand the legal, regulatory and tax framework relating to your sector even if your job role is completely different

8. Engage with stakeholders

If the product context in which your company operates provides the opportunity, meet customers of your company’s products and customers of your competition and understand the following:

  • Buying and usage behaviour
  • Satisfaction and dis-satisfaction factors and levels
  • Brands in consideration set and key decision variables

Meet channel partners as they have insight and knowledge from interacting with downstream channel or end customer and can help accelerate your learning.

9. Know your role

A good starting point may be to request your reporting officer to explain where you fall/belong in the organisatoion and what your deliverables are.

Understand the measures to your performance assessment and reflect on the input parameters, process parameters and result parameters

Inquire into the competencies required to perform your role and draw up a plan for self-improvement

Apply your inquisitive mind and seek information on all parts of the organisation operation

10. Sharpen your skillset

Try and understand what are the skill sets required to stay relevant in your job role.

Assess what are your strengths and improvement areas against the key skill sets and try to work on them from time to time. Ask your reporting officer to share feedback when required.

Draw up a plan for working on your improvement areas and track your progress.

What you learn in your first job will go a long way in establishing your career path.

Surya Mahadevan is professor (marketing area) and chairman -- corporate engagement, TA Pai Management Institute, Manipal, Karnataka.

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Surya Mahadevan
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