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How to ensure success in a newly created role | Main region

How to ensure success in a newly created role

Starting a new role


Are you about to start in a newly created role? With the world of work changing faster than ever, new departments are forming, and new roles are being created all the time. It’s therefore becoming more and more likely that your next position could be one that has never existed before.

Starting a new job can be nerve-racking at the best of times, but if that role is also newly created, it brings with it a whole additional set of challenges. Of course, you want to impress, but if your position has never existed before, it may take a few weeks or even months to define success parameters and responsibilities. That’s why success in a new role takes additional planning on your part. 

So, if you are about to start in a brand new position, we provide the following tips to help ensure your success in a new role.

Newly created roles bring huge career benefits 

Starting a newly created job can be both exciting and a huge opportunity. After all, there’s no predecessor to live up to or previous benchmarks to work towards. In a newly created position, you have the unique opportunity to take a role in the direction you think it needs to go and make it your own. You can start with a clean slate.

However, there can also be some very real challenges that come with life in a newly created role, especially if the new job responsibilities are not yet clearly defined and your boss is using your first few months in the role to determine exactly what they should be.

8 ways to ensure success in a new role

While the usual advice on starting a new job still applies, when you are beginning a role that has never existed before there are a few additional tips to remember. Yes, introducing yourself to your new colleagues, having a positive attitude and asking questions all count. However, as you’re starting a completely new job, there are additional details to bear in mind.

1. Understand the big picture 

Use the first few days on the job to ask questions and gain a complete understanding of the strategy, motivations and purpose of your role. For example, try to understand: 

  • The circumstances and requirements that led to the creation of this new job. For instance, is the team overworked? Are there new challenges that current team members cannot meet? Or are there other related hiring or business factors at play that your manager can share?
  • The skills, background and other characteristics that led to your manager hiring you for this job.
  • The culture of the office or workplace, how employees interact, the support and resources provided to staff and common processes to be aware of. 
  • How your new job will fit in with the wider strategic direction of the business in the months and years ahead.

By gaining this big picture understanding, you’ll be clear on the context of why this new role was created, how the organisation operates and what purpose you need to fill. 

2. Set objectives for your first 3 months 

Make sure you understand exactly what your boss wants you to achieve in your first three months in the new job. Set specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely (SMART) objectives with your manager, then have regular check-ins to review progress and ensure you are achieving what they need from you. This will also help reassure your boss that their new hire is making the necessary progress and is on track to becoming a successful employee who can effectively add value in their department and company.

Remember, a new role is often undefined or only vaguely defined initially. This makes it vital to set with your manager a framework of well-formulated objectives that won’t send you in the wrong direction during your first few months with the company. Understanding the expectations of your manager from the outset will therefore help you to better ensure success in a new role.

3. Know how success will be measured  

To ensure you succeed in a new role, it’s important to understand how success will be measured – and how often. There’s no one-size-fits-all way of measuring an employee’s success, even in an established role, and for a new hire this brings even greater challenges. 

So, discuss with your manager how success will be measured in your new position. For example, can you create specific targets or determine another way of measuring how your work contributes to the organisation’s bottom line or core objectives? By understanding how success will be measured by the company, you’ll be much more likely to deliver it.

4. Build relationship with key stakeholders 

During your first few weeks, focus on developing strong relationships with all your key stakeholders, both within the company and externally. Take the time to understand how your new role fits in with senior stakeholders and their priorities, and which senior members hold the most influence. If you start to develop these relationships as soon as possible, it will make it easier to gain buy-in for any new initiatives or projects you roll out in the future. 

It’s just as crucial to dedicate time early on to getting to know your team, too. By engaging with stakeholders at all levels, including in your immediate team, you’ll ensure they’re brought into what you’re doing, while you simultaneously learn what they do – and you’re far less likely to tread on any toes along the way. 

Ultimately, it’s crucial to recognise that being in a newly created role doesn’t mean working by yourself. Nor should you merely leverage your colleagues’ resources and skills without making their own jobs easier through active collaboration and teamwork. So, make time to build good working relationships with those around you. Don't forget to also then connect with them on LinkedIn or other professional social media.

5. Don’t change everything immediately  

When you start in a newly created role, there will undoubtedly be certain problems or challenges your boss wants you to address. But it’s important that you resist the urge to make an instant impact on day one. You can’t try to fix or change everything as soon as you arrive. Instead, take the time to understand the ecosystem of the company, how different departments collaborate, and what the strategic priorities are.

Taking a ‘watch and learn’ approach, rather than acting too early, will help you understand how and where you can deliver the most value quickly, while comfortably complementing the work that is already being done. Then, over the coming months in your new position, you will be able to adjust to the distinctive challenges of the job, integrate yourself more fully into the team structure and take greater ownership in shaping the role.

6. Avoid over-promising 

Be realistic in what you say you can achieve. It can be easy to over-promise when you first enter a company, especially in initial meetings and inductions where you want to prove yourself from the very start. After all, you’ll be eager to demonstrate your value, and you may have already formed opinions or ideas of what needs to be done as a priority. Naturally, because this is a new position, many stakeholders will be excited to have you on board, and keen to see change and progress. However, try not to succumb to the pressure of over-promising and under-delivering – instead, take a measured and realistic approach to the new role.

7. Be flexible

Similarly, any newly created role evolves over time. As mentioned above, your boss may be using your first few weeks and months to shape the role before locking your responsibilities in place. As a result, you need to be flexible and appreciate that it may take some time before your job description is finalised. 

The benefit of this evolution is that you can shape the role, too. You can set systems and processes, have a say in the structure and help define the parameters of the role based on what works best for you. After all, you were hired for your skills and experience, so put them to use to help mould the role into one where you can provide maximum value. 

8. Be confident in your skills 

Having confidence in your skills and abilities will ensure you make the right decisions. During your first few weeks in your new role, remain level-headed and don’t succumb to the pressure of trying to prove yourself immediately. Instead, make sure each decision you make is strategic and informed, and will have a positive impact. 

Remember that even your first steps in your new role should be made with the longer-term objectives for the job in mind. By understanding what these longer-term objectives are, and having the confidence in your skills and abilities, you’ll make the right decisions along the way. If you need reassurance, talk to a mentor or someone who has given you good career advice in the past – sometimes, all it takes is a conversation with a trusted confidant to boost your self-assurance.

Consider upskilling courses 

Once you settle into your newly created role, you may discover that there are additional skills you need to learn to increase your success in a new role. This is especially true if the role is still being developed and your boss is making small changes to ensure you can add maximum value to the team and organisation.

There are various ways you can upskill on the job. These will help you learn new skills without a huge financial outlay. However, there are also times when you may need to consider upskilling courses to quickly learn a new competency. With various courses available, from short courses to those lasting several years, and learning available in person or online in your own time, you can choose when and how you can best fit upskilling study into your schedule.   

Succeed in your new role

As exciting as it is to step into a role that has never existed before in an organisation, it can also be daunting. A higher level of creativity, responsibility and agility is required compared to when you start in a previously occupied vacancy.

By following the above points as you begin your newly created role, you can help shape it into the position that everyone in the organisation – yourself included – wants it to be. As a result, you’ll be well-placed to make the best possible contribution to your new employer’s success.