Tips for fitting in at your new job

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Congratulations — you’ve landed that job you wanted! Now it’s your first day, so you want to make a good impression on your co-workers and fit into the company culture as quickly as possible.

Company culture is the set of shared values, beliefs and behaviors that define a company. According to Alison Doyle in her article “Understanding Company Culture” for The Balance Careers, it’s important to fit into the culture because you’re more likely to enjoy the time you spend at work. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to fit in. Keep the following five tips in mind:

  1. Adhere to the company dress code. How people dress says at work says a lot about the company culture. A workplace where everybody wears business suits is most likely far more formal than an office where jeans and sneakers are the norm. Make sure you know what the dress code is before your first day so you feel comfortable in your surroundings. If necessary, contact the hiring manager and ask for some advice.
  2. Learn the lingo. Many companies and teams have their own terms for certain tasks, processes and even locations on the company’s premises. Pay close attention, and try to learn these as soon as possible. If you don’t understand something, just ask: Your new co-workers will be happy to clarify things for you.
  3. Have lunch with your colleagues. Spending time with your new team members is the best way to learn the dynamics and culture. Find out what people do at lunch time — do they visit a nearby deli, go for a walking lunch or maybe even work out during the break and eat at their desks? Then do as they do.
  4. Observe team etiquette. Your new colleagues might have different social rules from your old team. For example, perhaps it was acceptable to walk over to a colleague’s desk to ask a question at your previous workplace — but here, people prefer that you send an email or instant message. Again, this is something you can easily ask about if you’re uncertain.
  5. Don’t be afraid to try a new way of doing things. In his article titled “4 Things You Can Do to Make Your First Week at a New Job Feel Less Awkward” for The Muse, Richard Moy recommends letting go of routines and processes you learned in your former workplace and instead, embracing how your new team members do things. Remember that even if you question how or why something is done a certain way, there’s probably a very good reason for it. Again, don’t be afraid to ask.

When you start a new job, it’s perfectly normal to be a bit nervous about fitting in. However, if you keep this advice in mind, you can observe and adapt — and that in turn can help you feel at home faster.


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