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

How to ensure success in a newly created position

Starting a new role

Are you about to start in a newly created role? As organisations look to keep up with rapidly changing market conditions and opportunities, they are devising new, and at times, undefined roles. It could be likely that your next job might 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 an additional set of challenges. Of course, you want to impress, but if your position has never existed before, it may take some time to define success parameters and responsibilities. That’s why mapping out who you can rely on, building relationships so you can always ask questions and always getting feedback are just some of the important steps you can take to ensure you settle in. 
So, if you are about to start in a brand-new position, here are some tips to ensure your success in a new role. 

Newly created roles bring huge career benefits

Starting a newly created job can be 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 make the role your own.  
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. 

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 efforts to take into account.

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. 

With clear context around the why this new role was created and how the organisation operates you’ll better understand the purpose you need to fill in the role.

2. Set objectives for your first three months

Ask your new boss to define and identify what they hope you will achieve in your first three months in the new role. 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 you’re making the necessary progress and are on track to becoming a 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.

3. Know how success will be measured

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 core objectives and success? By understanding how success will be measured by the company, you’ll be much more likely to deliver it.

4. Build relationships with key stakeholders

During your first few weeks, focus on developing strong relationships with your key stakeholders, both within the company and externally. Take 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 to getting to know your team. 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. 

Ultimately, it’s important to understand that being in a newly designed role doesn’t mean working in isolation. 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. It can also help to 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 resist the urge to make an instant impact. Don’t attempt to fix or change everything as soon as you start. 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, 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 start with 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 evolving roles is that you can shape it, 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 define the role into one where you can provide maximum value.

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 chances at success. 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, you can choose when and how you can best fit upskilling 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.

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