How to initiate change when you are a newbie

How to initiate change when you are a newbie

You have just started a job you are excited about. Congratulations! As you spend the first week in the office, it becomes clear that there are ways the company could be doing things to improve productivity, save money, work smarter and use best practices.

Change is hard for many, but a necessary thing for companies to embrace. As a new employee it can be difficult to offer ideas for positive change that may seem obvious to you, but have been overlooked by those that have been at the company for many years. It can also be frustrating and discouraging to sit back and work in a way that may feel unproductive.

To suggest and implement change as a newbie, here are several tips:

  1. Make your past experience known

    This is a subtle strategy that needs to be done with tact; you don’t want the first impression you give your coworkers to be one of a braggart. Unforced conversation about successful strategies or projects you had in previous jobs can be helpful.

    For instance; if your suggestion is to start expanding the company’s social media presence, start by sharing stories of your social media experience, and how it was productive in past career roles. How did social media help company growth?

    Sharing your experiences can be done both casually (with coworkers) and more formally with your boss when the time comes to ask about implementing the change. Imagine if after a few weeks the team knows of your capability in social media, who better than to suggest and implement a change?

  2. Take the time to gain respect and information

    This goes hand in hand with point # 1. By sharing your experience with coworkers, and spending time getting to know them, respect will come. It’s not a detail you can rush, but it is an important one. Sometimes the respect comes quickly and other times it could take a bit longer. Much of it depends on how long other employees have been there, and the chemistry between workers. Take your time to gain trust and a good rapport with your new team. Not only will it make any change you want to implement much easier to do, it can also give you valuable information about things the company may have already tried in the past. Learning from your coworkers can help avoid suggestions of changes that have been previously attempted without success, and will give you good data about why past ideas worked or failed.

  3. Start with your manager

    When you want to suggest the idea, start at the top. Present it to your boss before suggesting it to others. It’s best to get buy-in first from the person that will make the decision.

  4. When you present the idea to your manager, go in armed

    The idea may be a good one from your perspective, but you need more than just your (educated and experienced) thoughts. Give hard data as to why this change will help. Will it increase productivity? How? Will it reduce operating costs? By how much? Good ideas are “good” for a reason. Bring the reasons with you.

  5. Have patience

    To stay away from the label “over achiever,” have patience. Like point #2, take the time to let the idea (or ideas) sink in. Change is hard for many people, but typically a necessary thing to promote and facilitate growth. Give your ideas time, and if it is something that can’t wait, explain why.

  6. Finally, when it works, celebrate!

    Don’t take credit, give credit!

    Reach out and acknowledge others that helped to facilitate the change. Recognize those that accepted it (maybe unwillingly, but accepted it!) and moved it forward. The more credit you give to others, the more respect others will give to you.

And if your idea doesn’t work? Don’t give up! Take notes as to why it didn’t work (Was the idea not quite right for this company? Were the employees not on-board?) and keep moving forward.

Good Luck!