Here are our top tips for navigating the workplace:

First few days

The first few days in a new job are about building relationships and showing your enthusiasm. Here are some top tips to help you navigate your new workplace

  1. Plan your commute
    It’s safest to research your journey beforehand - you might even want to practise it.

  2. Choose your outfit
    Planning your outfit in advance reduces last-minute stress. If the dress code isn't clear, go for smart business attire initially and adjust as needed the next day.

  3. Be on time
    While punctuality is valued, arriving overly early might catch HR or your new manager off guard.

  4. Be authentic
    Remember, you were chosen for this role because you're a good fit. Embrace your genuine self!

  5. Observe and ask questions
    Pay close attention during meetings and conversations to absorb insights about processes and team dynamics.

  6. Clarify expectations
    Seek clarity about your role, responsibilities, and performance expectations from your manager.

  7. Stay positive
    Adjusting to a new job takes time. Maintain a positive attitude and enjoy your new start!


First few weeks

The first few weeks in a new job can be both exciting and challenging. Hopefully you’ll have some time for reflection, and an opportunity to think about who you would like to meet, and some goals you might have.

Here are some top tips to help you establish a strong foundation:

  1. Relationships: Who do you need to meet?
    Begin by identifying key colleagues, teammates, and stakeholders you need to connect with. Building strong relationships is vital for your success, so take the time to connect over a coffee, or virtually over Linkedin.

  2. Learning: What are the gaps in your skills or knowledge?
    Assess your knowledge gaps in relation to your new role. Remember, you can use York for Life for training to help you bridge these gaps.

  3. Mentoring: What do you want to develop in?
    Consider seeking a mentor either within or outside your organisation. A mentor can provide unbiased advice and share industry insights. Your new workplace may have a mentoring programme, or you can connect with York alumni on York Profiles and Mentors.

  4. Reflection: How is your role going so far?
    Start getting into the habit of regularly setting aside time to consider your achievements, challenges, and areas for improvement.

Behaving professionally is important for building a positive reputation and contributing to a productive work environment, and can be a key factor in future when your organisation considers promotions.

Here are five tips to show professionalism at work:

  1. Reliability and punctuality
    Arriving on time for meetings shows that you value your commitments, and reflects a sense of responsibility. Try using the notifications on Google and Outlook calendars, to remind you of meetings which are about to start.

  2. Effective communication
    Clear and concise communication, both written and verbal, can help to avoid misunderstandings and promote efficient collaboration. Actively listening to colleagues, addressing conflicts sensitively, and offering constructive feedback are all aspects of professional communication.

  3. Maintaining a positive attitude
    A positive attitude can greatly influence workplace dynamics. Displaying optimism, enthusiasm, and a solution-oriented mindset can contribute to a collaborative work environment. 

  4. Supporting an inclusive culture
    Treating colleagues with respect and sensitivity is fundamental to professionalism. Respecting personal boundaries, cultural differences, and diverse perspectives are all ways to help create a supportive work environment.

  5. Continuous learning
    Showing a commitment to personal and professional growth demonstrates professionalism. Staying updated on industry trends and best practices shows a willingness to adapt to changes. Opportunities for skill development can usually be found within your organisation, as well as externally through York for Life.

What are they and how can I prepare?

Performance reviews are formal assessments conducted by employers, to evaluate an employee's job performance and contributions. These reviews usually occur annually or bi-annually and serve as a key tool for feedback, goal-setting, and career development.

Here are some ways to prepare for a performance review:

Reflect on your achievements, challenges, and areas for improvement

Gathering specific examples of these can help to illustrate your experiences. In the meeting itself, it’s important to be open to feedback and actively set future goals, to demonstrate your commitment to continuous learning. Regularly reflecting on your work will help you to focus on enhancing your skills, and allow you to identify areas you'd like to develop in ahead of your performance review.

Make the most of opportunities

Be proactive in seeking out opportunities such as new projects, especially those which align with your career goals and the needs of the organisation. By taking on additional responsibilities, you can further develop your skills, meet new colleagues, and prepare for any promotion opportunities which may arise.

Securing a promotion involves seeking opportunities for personal growth and demonstrating your potential to take on higher responsibilities. Focus on managing upwards effectively, taking on additional responsibilities, and reflecting on your experiences.

Here are five key strategies to help you get a promotion:

  1. Seek new opportunities
    Actively look for opportunities within your current role to showcase your skills and commitment. Volunteer for projects that align with your career goals, demonstrating your value and dedication to your team.

  2. Reflect regularly
    Regularly assess your performance and growth. Reflect on your achievements, areas for improvement, and how your current role aligns with your long-term goals. This self-awareness will help you identify the skills and experiences needed for a promotion.

  3. Upskill
    Identify your areas for development, and use training opportunities such as those offered by York for Life to upskill. Complete relevant training to prepare for your next step, showing your commitment to growth.

  4. Make connections
    Build a strong network both within and outside your organisation. Engage with colleagues from different departments to gain a holistic view, and attend industry events to broaden your perspective.

  5. Manage upwards
    Create a positive relationship with your manager. Understand their goals and priorities, and keep them updated on your progress – demonstrating your enthusiasm and responsibility.