New Job? How to make an impact in your first week!

over 1 year ago, Damian Rhodes


I spoke to over fifty senior executives in Hong Kong and beyond and asked one question: 

How can a new employee make an impact in their first week?

The responses I received were varied but five areas in particular were identified over ten times.  Be curious, humble, show respect to others, be early and be positive.  It doesn't matter whether you are starting out in your career or have thirty years professional experience - these traits will have a powerful impact in your first few days.

1.  Curiosity 

"Before starting a new role learn everything there is to know about the team, especially those you will work most closely with.  Look them up on social media, understand their likes, dislikes, what makes them tick."

"Identfy your key stakeholders - not only your imeediate manager but those you will work closely with both internally and externally.  Spend time getting to know each person - observe what is important to them."

"Spend time getting to know each person.  Take a notepad and a pen and make note of everything.  There are not really any dumb questions in your first week.  What is dumb is asking the same question more than once."

"Introduce yourself to the CEO and find out the company strategy as well as what you can do to help get the organiation there."

2.  Humility

"Humility is one of the most attractive traits in a new employee.  Any hint of arrogance will turn people against you early on."

"Do not tell people how great you are and do not criticise or put other people down.  Prove yourself by your actions, not your words."

"The Pareto Principle is key - let your proportion of listening to speaking be 80:20 - this is humiity and a very smart move."

"Do not tell everyone all that there is to know about you when you first meet them - this will come across as arrogance."

"If you tell everyone how amazing you are, people will both resent you and expect you to back this up with results very quickly.  Be humble."

3.  Respect 

"Of course it is important to identify your key stakeholders but make sure that you show respect to everyone.  It doesn't matter whether that person is a receptionist, an intern or the CEO, you must be respectful to all regardless of rank."

"It is so basic, it hardly needs to be said, but respect is key.  I have been amazed at people who will talk over me during meetings, turn up late to work or argue in front of my team."

"Basic respect is so important.  I expect my new hires to not just respect me as CEO but aso to respect my middle management team and yes, everyone they work with."

4.  Be Early

"Nothing says enthusiasm more than arriving for work early each day.  I am amazed that some people consider it to be acceptable to be late on their first day, week or month.  Plan ahead, learn how long it takes to get to the office and aim to arrive at least half an hour early each day."

"Clock watchers aim to get in on time and are late.  The smartest people arrive before everyone else does.  The hour before the rest of the staff arrive is critical as it is usually the time when you can spend time with critical decision makers, get to know them, and show them that you mean business."

"I once hired someone whom I considered to be high potential.  He showed up late twice in his first month and I knew early on that he wouldn't make it."  

"Put in the hours.  I arrive at work two hours before the staff do and so I notice those who are keen, who take the time to be here first and who prepare adequately for the day.  A very junior member of my team would turn up to work an hour early each day and this told me that he is organised, enthusiastic, positive and 

5.  Positivity

"If you would like to make a positive impact in a new organisation, regardless of your seniority, it helps if people like you.  Smile, be positive and be friendly."

"Under no circumstances bring your personal problems to work.  When you enter the office put your game face on.  No one cares how drunk you got last night or if you had a row with your girlfriend - choose to be cheerful."

"Do not come to me with a problem, come and bring me a solution."