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How to Build Professional Relationships That Support Your Career Growth

New Hires, Career Search, Communication Skills...

Many professionals can spend more time with their colleagues and co-workers in the office, than they do with their spouses, or families.  Fostering healthy relationships in the workplace is critical to long-term career success and professional development.

Investing time to develop healthy relationships in the workplace has a number of benefits.  First, it rapidly accelerates learning and on-boarding if you are a new hire.  Second, it can help eliminate negative issues or conflicts with both co-workers and the management team, if you take the right steps to introduce yourself, and build positive relationships, one colleague at a time.  The third benefit is that you will derive more enjoyment from your new company, when you feel accepted and acknowledged by other members of your team.

Starting with a new company?  Among the list of things that should be prioritized by new hires, is getting to know those who will be working with you directly.  Here are some tips from our recruiters to help you bridge the gap as the ‘new person’ and start to create the kind of professional relationships that will dictate both job satisfaction, and success in your new role.

Learn Names and Functions

Wouldn’t it be easy if everyone who worked with you, wore name tags for the first few months after you started your new job?   Learning ‘who does what’ is the first positive step to onboarding yourself, with your new company.

Forgetting a name or the function that someone fulfills on your team, is both embarrassing and potentially damaging to success.  Have you ever noticed how some of the most exceptional executives remember employee names? That is because they are committed to knowing and being fully engaged with the team that supports them, and to networking professionally with others.

One tip that works, is to ask for a business card (if available) from your colleagues.  When in private, you can write down some key notes about their role and responsibilities and review them.  Not only will you have an accurate spelling of their name, but you’ll start to associate them with specific departments and functions.

If many of your colleagues do not have business cards, use the staff directory in outlook or intranet.  Create your own spreadsheet in Google docs, and make notes on each individual.  When working with another department, or other team members,  you can quickly review names and start to associate them with the faces that you’ll be working with.

For more tips on recalling names, departments and other professional details, read these five tips on Forbes.

Stay Oriented for Long-Term Growth

It takes time when you start your career with a new employer.  Navigating the unique corporate culture and feeling like ‘the new kid’ can make some candidates feel like they wish to withdraw moderately and be an observer.  It’s a natural human response when you are a new person in an unfamiliar environment.

Our best advice to candidates who are starting a new job, is to resist this reaction.  The first few months of your job represent an opportunity to learn and demonstrate confidence in your ability to master the skills and responsibilities that are expected of you. 

Feeling awkward or even shy is normal, but the most successful career professionals embrace the learning curve (rather than be intimidated by it).  How well you integrate in the first 1-4 months with your team, has a strong influence on your trajectory and success within the organization. 

Ask Questions to Remain Open to Learning from Others

Make the most of being ‘new’ by interacting as much as appropriate with your colleagues and team.  Often new hires (regardless of the level or responsibility endowed upon them) believe that asking questions can make them seem less confident, or inexperienced.   The truth is that it is something that even C-Level executives do, if you observe their professional habits; they are always asking questions, and consistently open to learning from the insights and experience of others.

Remember that the more questions you ask, the faster you will find yourself feeling confident and gathering valuable experience you’ll need, to perform well in your role.  A nice side-effect that happens when you become comfortable asking questions of your team or managers, is that you have the opportunity to get to know them better, professionally and personally. 

Asking for help, or elaboration on a specific task also helps foster a positive team environment and allows your new colleagues to form a positive impression of you, based on your eagerness to learn (and master) your new role.  It also creates a strong message, that you care about your performance, and contribution to group and corporate goals.

Remember, it’s not just you that may be feeling awkward.  You may have to take the first steps on every occasion to professional introduce yourself.  Share why you are excited to have joined the team, and the things that you are already enjoying about your new role.  You will find that colleagues will begin to open up to you, when they see you lead with a professional attitude, and that you intend to contribute to a positive work environment.