Are you a temp or contractor looking to seamlessly glide into a new job? You’re not alone. Over 10% of New Zealand’s workforce are contingent employees, which means that one in 10 Kiwis are exploring contingent work, many for the first time. Putting down your roots and familiarising yourself expeditiously with your new company is often expected, which can riddle many with needless anxiety. If you’re about to launch into a new temporary or contract assignment, we’ve got some tips to help you settle in and adapt to your new environment quickly whilst leaving a positive and lasting impression of your time there.
The Challenge of Settling In
Auckland and Wellington are home to most of New Zealand’s temp or contracting jobs and as a temp or contractor, your greatest challenge is getting to a point where you’re able to deliver the work you have been engaged to do in the shortest period of time. This is all whilst circumnavigating a maze of new personalities within an unchartered company culture. Most people who start a new permanent role fall into one of two groups:
- Reserved: These people have a tendency to adapt to their new job with caution, setting the wheels of integration in motion at a slower pace. It takes time for them to build rapport and they refrain from articulating opinions or thoughts until they acclimatise to their new workplace. They are mostly comfortable out of the limelight, some taking weeks or even months to settle in.
- Enthusiast: Contrarily, this person thrives on being in the limelight, countering any nerves by being the centre of attention and exerting excess energy. They actively seek out engagement, furnishing those around them with opinions, excitability and a loquacious style, especially about what they have done before. Whilst it’s acceptable to share anecdotes at suitable times, enthusiasts need to be aware that their style can actually drive away certain team members.
It comes as no surprise that neither of these extremes are ideal for contingent workers, as both could hamstring your success in settling into your new contract or temp assignment. Here’s what you can do to help to ingrain yourself from the outset:
Research Before You Start
Planning and researching before you temp or contract will get you ahead of the game. Utilising LinkedIn to understand your new team will open the doors to common ground. This will further help in recognising who the key figures are and who can help shape your settlement further. You can use this as a blueprint for building rapport when you start. Reading up about the company, the structure and on going projects will offer further insight into how its run and also what the vision and values are.
Small talk can unchain a host of opportunities for building relationships and help you settle into your temp or contractor role far quicker. As daunting as it may be for some, try to be approachable using a gesture as easy as a smile. Ask your colleagues lots of questions to get to know them; most people like talking about themselves and open up easily. Once common ground is found, individual connections can be fostered.
The hallmarks of small talk are being friendly, listening with intent, keeping topics non-controversial, knowing when to opt out and expressing interest. Try framing some of your questions around asking for advice, leading questions like the ones below allow a conversation to flow.
Simple small talk can lead to greater connections with those around you and invariably lead to greater team assimilation. Start with your close team members and direct manager and where possible engage face-to-face rather than an internal chat application or email. Keep the tone light and refrain from using the time as a springboard for protracted deep dialogue! Best not to overdo it – you are there, after all, to do a job. Learn names and take opportunities to have lunch with your colleagues. The spark of involvement and conversation could light the fire of integration as well as comfort.
Ask Questions and Listen
As a temp or contractor you are expected to hit the ground running, with minimal onboarding and certainly no pomp and ceremony! The learning curve can be steep and overwhelming, even if you have a wealth of expertise and experience. Don’t get lost in a sea of unanswered queries. Be comfortable not knowing the answer and ask questions. Actively listen and repeat the information given to you. Many temps and contractors carry a notebook or use a memo app on their phones to keep track of their questions – particularly on their first day. Asking questions is so important, as it is best not to assume what the solutions are in order to avoid a minefield of mistakes. It is important to note, however, that the odd mistake here or there is inevitable, and part of that learning curve.
Focus on Your Job
Get stuck into the tasks at hand and remember you are there to fill a talent void and get the job completed on time. Learn the work processes and understand your responsibilities as well as your manager’s expectations. At Beyond Recruitment we have specialised temp and contract consultants in Auckland and Wellington who are here to support you further if you need any extra help or direction. Prioritise and organise your work so that the most urgent projects are finished first. If your work is focused, there will be less emphasis on you taking a little longer to settle in. Your performance and productivity will speak for themselves.
Understand the Culture
If you feel marooned in the office and unsure of how to act, there is no better way to adapt to your fresh working environment than by taking the time to understand and observe the company culture. Beyond the veil of tasks, processes and procedures, the workplace culture hums to a different tune. It will illustrate how the majority of people engage with each other and is a good sign of how you should work with your peers and clients. Consider; how does the company treat its customers, its employees or the local community? What are their objectives? What is expected of employees by both customers and managers? How do people tend to communicate with one another? How does the company put their values into action for both customers and employees?
Resist creating a different image for yourself to simply fit in. Dropping the veneer and letting your personality shine through is one of the fastest ways to success. If you find yourself doing things out of the ordinary then take inventory of your actions and reign yourself in to avoid them. Authenticity, integrity and honesty will set you apart in the temporary and contracting landscape.
A temp or contract job offers a veritable chance to engage with new people whilst applying your skills in a range of industries. A stumbling block for many, however, is being able to blend quickly into a new business and establishing relationships with a medley of new people. By doing your job well, being open to opportunities of engagement and manoeuvering through the intricacies of the company culture, you can leave the assignment with a lasting impression coupled with outstanding references. Follow our guidelines and settling into a new job will never be a challenge again!
Are you looking for your next temporary or contract assignment from Auckland to Wellington or anywhere else in New Zealand? Call us today and take advantage of our vast networks and great temp/contract jobs.