Onboarding Process

04/04/23 published by Job Legal Board

Why you should onboard yourself at work

After several rounds of interviews, you’ve finally made it to the first day of your brand new job. Do you feel excited? Anxious? Apprehensive? Indifferent?

You’d think, given how hard you worked to get here, that those first few days would feel exciting. This job is what you wanted after all!

But too often, it can feel more like you’ve gone back to school in a stress dream. One where you’re nervously wandering through corridors, not knowing where to go or why you’re there.

Being a new person at a busy company isn’t always easy. You can go from being completely in control at a firm you knew well, to feeling like a spare part aimlessly moving through an unfamiliar place. 

And even with the best of intentions, your new colleagues may not have the capacity to help. Companies hire new people because they’re busy, after all.


So what should you do? 


Prepare to start strong regardless of who’s around to show you the ropes.

You may not know the company, but you know your job. That’s why they hired you. And being the gifted legal professional that you are, you’re able to make various assumptions that can see you starting strong before HR has even organised your induction.

Here are 5 steps to banish new job anxiety through your own onboarding process. It works for literally any job!


  1. Make a list


All legal folk know the value of writing things down. You may never look at your list again, but it will help you organise your thoughts and get clear on where you stand. So do it before you even start.

Here’s some things to ask yourself:

  • What do you need to be able to do your job?

  • What can you work on before you’ve had training?

  • What do you need other people to help out with? 


Unless you’ve taken a pivot in your job search – you probably already know the actual job. So your job here is to investigate the company. 

How do things work here?

If you’re newly qualified – your questions will need to be targeted to help you identify the right people to give you the help you need.


  1. Learn who does what


Introductions at your new job often go one of two ways. 

Barely there VS overkill.

Maybe you meet the first four people who happen to be around the office when you arrive. Or everyone is pointed out across several departments (or zoom if you’re remote) – ensuring you’ll have to find the sneakiest way to learn who you’re talking to when you eventually meet each of these people again.

The point here is: you’ll need to know who’s who pretty fast to get off to a running start, but don't rely on someone else to give you that information. Organisational charts and social media can help you learn about your colleagues for yourself. Use them to get to grips with the company structure, who you can lean on, and who it might be useful to get to know.


Once you know who does what, you’ll find it much easier to do those parts of your job that require collaboration with other people and departments.


  1. Find your allies


Work, much like life, is better with friends.

Ant and Dec, Dick and Dom, Lindsey and Jessica (from Accounts). Some of the best friendships blossom at work with people you’d likely have never met in the outside world. 

Even the most introverted workers can find relief in a work-buddy. Whoever this happens to be, they were once new too and they probably remember how it felt. 

A sympathetic sounding board might be all you need to minimise uneasy feelings and alleviate those new starter jitters. Plus, having someone to talk to about nothing in particular will help you feel more confident that you’ve joined a good team. 

This person can also help you learn the unwritten rules of how things work here, and can help you make other useful connections too.

Just remember that like everyone else, this person’s time and capacity is limited. They have a job to do, and they’re not going to be paid extra to help you do yours. 


  1. Check in with your manager


Self-reliance will only get you so far when it comes to doing your job. You need the right people to confirm that you’re successfully doing what they hired you to do.

You don’t want to get to your 6 month probationary meeting to learn that your contributions haven’t been adding value to the firm. So you want to check in with management before you get too involved with doing the work.

By taking the initiative to pencil in a short meeting with your line manager, you’ll be able to bring up anything you’re unsure of, and they can confirm that you’re investing your time and efforts into the right activities. This minimises the potential for confusion and miscommunication later on.

In the likely event that you’ll come up against difficulties in your first few weeks – you can ask for help and guidance. It’s easier to pull out the “I’m new” card when you’re actually new, so the sooner potential issues are brought to the surface, the better.

However things are going, prepare pointed questions for this meeting. This will ensure that it’s productive and will leave you both feeling confident and in control.


  1. Take time to notice the wins


Positive reinforcement is good for the brain. It doesn’t matter who it comes from, so might as well be you!

When you go from being in ‘expert’ mode to ‘learning’ mode, you may not realise how well you’re doing until you’ve taken a moment to consider what you’re up against. Other people are busy and don’t have your ‘newbie’ perspective, so it’s not worth expecting anyone else to roll out the red carpet either. 

Give yourself acknowledgement for any early milestones, and take note of things you’re happy with. You’re probably doing better than you think.

Pro tip. You can escape ‘stress dream’ mode by treating yourself to something you enjoy at the end of those first few weeks. Having gotten yourself through the trickiest part of your job (the beginning) – you’ve most certainly earned it.

In short: No company can anticipate your needs quite like you 

So grab the metaphorical bull by the horns and give yourself the start that only you can. 


Need to secure that new job first? 

Job Legal Board is the world’s first platform for internal vacancies with legal firms, getting you hired faster and with less fuss than going through an agency process. 

Find your next opportunity with us today.