Dear Working Wise:
Do you have any tips for new employees? I’m constantly surprised that I have to explain basic workplace etiquette to the new people I hire for my restaurant. Signed Regretful Restaurateur
Workplaces have different expectations than schools or homes. Since every workplace has slightly different norms, you might want to create a list of your expectations for all staff. Most of us don’t want to disappoint our bosses—explaining your expectations up front will save you time and frustration and save your staff unnecessary stress.
For anyone starting a new job, here are some general tips on how to make a good first impression with your new boss and coworkers.
Impress your boss:
· Arrive 10 minutes early every day—ready and eager to work.
· Bring a smile and positive attitude with you to work.
· Provide excellent customer/client service.
· Dress, speak and behave the way your supervisor does. If you’re not sure about your supervisor’s expectations, ask.
· Come to work clean and well-groomed every day.
· Keep your clothes and shoes neat, clean and in good repair.
· Keep perfume, aftershave, and make-up to a minimum.
· Minimize tattoos/jewellery—you may not have to do it, but it usually helps make a good impression.
· Wear/use the special clothing or equipment (e.g., nametag, hardhat, hairnet, etc.) that you are asked to even if your coworkers don’t.
· Show some pride in your new employer—wear a branded shirt or hat to work if it’s appropriate.
· Follow your workplace’s cell phone, email, and Internet guidelines.
· Respect your supervisor’s authority and expertise.
· Know your hours of work and break times and follow them even if your coworkers don’t.
· Ask questions when you are unsure, accept constructive criticism, take responsibility for your mistakes and learn from them.
· Follow policy and procedures, work safely, and complete tasks the way you were taught by your supervisor.
Impress your coworkers:
· Greet coworkers with a smile and a firm handshake, learn their names, and make an effort to get along.
· Treat everyone with respect regardless of who they are or their status in the company.
· Be a team player—complete the tasks you are assigned and offer your help to coworkers who need it.
· Don’t invade personal space—in Canada that’s approximately 90 cm.
· Avoid slang, foul language, inappropriate humour or controversial comments.
· Be friendly with your coworkers without giving too much detail or asking questions that are too personal.
· Avoid negative coworkers and gossip.
· Keep an open mind and a sense of humour.
· Keep your work area tidy and personal items to a minimum.
· Do little things that matter to your coworkers like making a fresh pot of coffee, picking up coffee or lunch for others, tidying up the break room, or refilling the photocopier or water cooler.
Avoid becoming one of your supervisor’s ‘regrets’. A good first impression will help you become an accepted contributing member of the team faster and keep your career moving forward.
If this is your first job, check out http://alis.alberta.ca/ep/eps/tips/tips.html?EK=12371 to learn more about rules around wages, paid holidays, vacation pay, and breaks.
Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Charles Strachey is a manager with Alberta Human Services. This column is provided for general information.