Getting Settled In

I’ve found that it takes me about a year to really get settled into a new organization. I just had my performance review and it was really refreshing to acknowledge that we have found a good working pattern. It takes time to feel comfortable in any job. Regardless of where you work, developing relationships is the most important step to settling in. Take time to understand how to work with your boss and co-workers.

Have open communication with your boss about the projects that you are working on and their expectations of you. I’ve found you learn more from nonverbal cues than you ever do from verbal. Watch carefully how your work is received by other co-workers. If you continually find something is not working don’t be afraid to ask some questions and try a different strategy.

Wherever you work it takes time to get to know the donors. Each organization has its own particular kind of donors and volunteers. These relationships take time to build and it is important that recognized and understand what makes them valuable and unique. Your first year of interactions are often the times where you are tested the very most. They want to see how responsive you are and if you’re really listening to them. If you tell them you’ll follow up with them do it.

Get to know your key volunteers and work to understand what they do for the organization. I’m not talking about the “official” tasks but the unspoken ones of which they are the most proud. Watch for cues on how they want you to engage with them. Some volunteers want a little pampering and others want you to super responsive.


One Response to Getting Settled In

  1. Janice Chan says:

    Yes! Sometimes volunteers and donors have been with the organization longer than a lot of the staff, and while they may not know all the ins and outs of how things work internally, they can still be good resources (and offer different perspectives)–especially when whoever ran xyz last year is no longer with the organization. Volunteers especially get frustrated when they’ve been working at an event/program for years and a brand new staff member comes in and decides to change things without asking the volunteers, as if their experience and knowledge doesn’t count because they aren’t paid staff. Every volunteer is different and has slightly different motivations, but if you treat them more like staff and less like “just some volunteer,” that tends to go a long way.

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