From Organizational Socialization:
New employees act differently than current employees
Readings from pages 63-64.
Calida was excited about her new position because it came with significant responsibility and opportunity for advancement. After a newcomer's orientation to the organization and meetings with senior officials, Calida was highly motivated and ready to go. Then she met with her immediate supervisor and was shown her office. Surprisingly to Calida, no one had cleaned the office. An empty bag of potato chips lay on the floor, along with a few paper clips, folders, and crumpled papers. A film of dust covered the furniture suggesting the room had been vacant for some time. The old, gray desk was piled high with papers and miscellaneous trash. The drawers were cluttered with material left behind by the previous occupant. Calida would spend the better part of a day just making her office livable.
The implicit message Calida received was clear -- we don't really care about you -- and as Calida was to learn, they didn't. Nice enough people, but the organization had no concept of the value people make to the bottomline.
Think for a moment about any jobs you may have had. How were you welcomed to that job? Think about that first day. What was it like? Pleasant? Unpleasant? Exciting? Scary? Consider the first several days. The first few weeks. The first few months. How long did it take you to feel comfortable in your new position? How easy was it for you to learn the norms and roles, to learn the ropes? To learn what it takes to get the job done, get ahead, stay out of trouble? And how much help did you get from the organization for which you worked? From your supervisor? From your co-workers? Could your transition to the new job have been made easier? Better? How?
For many of us, our transitions to new jobs could have been much better. If we are fortunate, we might get an orientation to the company and an overview of the job and workplace from our supervisor. Usually we will learn the important norms and roles of the workplace through trial and error. These trials and errors may be costly, both to the individual and the organization.
Companies vary in how effective they are at welcoming the new employee but most could use an overhaul. Managers fail to recognize that the behavior of the new employee is different from the behavior of employees who have been with the organization a while. The new employee is looking for information, trying to fit in. For the organization, this is an opportunity too often lost.
When we are new to an organization, we are trying to learn the norms, roles, and values associated with our new positions. This process is called organizational socialization. It actually starts in earlier years as we pick up bits and pieces of what jobs, occupations, and professions are about.
KEY: No matter how much we learn about a new job, career, or organization before making a change, there will always be aspects, often important, we do not know.