How to Power up Your New Job Performance During First Three Months
How long will it take you, as a new employee, to achieve the required job performance level? How competent do you need you to be? By when?
Even if you are experienced in your profession you will still need to handle many significant learning curves because of the unique requirements of your new job and organization.
There’s a learning process you need to go through to achieve your job's required performance level.
What is Proficiency?
Proficiency is the quality of having great facility and competence. Every new employee needs to demonstrate job competencies to a certain level of proficiency.
Competencies are a set of observable behaviors that provide a structured guide to identify, evaluate and develop key knowledge, skills, and attitudes to perform the job effectively. These competencies could include communication, problem-solving, and customer service.
So, how long should it take you to become competent and demonstrate the required performance? What your employer highly values is accelerated competence. The sooner you can perform at the required standard of job performance, the better.
Your Job Performance Gaps
As a new employee you will need to take in and process a significant amount of information during the initial months on the job. You need to know how to accelerate the acquisition of job knowledge and skills from point ‘A’ to a higher point ‘B’ level. You may need in-depth training, reinforcement and coaching to achieve the required job performance level.
You can identify your job performance gaps by figuring out the difference between your ‘current’ versus the ‘required’ job knowledge and skills, i.e., what you need to learn to become proficient in your job.
Figuring out your job performance gaps will help you know where you are on the job proficiency continuum, i.e., not proficient, somewhat proficient, proficient, very proficient, highly proficient.
Here are specific ways you can identify your job performance gaps:
- Observe (job shadow) a job proficient colleague in your workplace as they perform a job that is the same as or similar to yours
- Compare and contrast your job knowledge and skills to a competent peer / colleague
- Have someone observe (job shadow) you in your workplace as you perform your job and to give you feedback
- Check off a list of the required job competencies, i.e., what you can currently demonstrate
- Complete one or more self-assessments to determine your own job competence
- Take tests / quizzes to assess your key knowledge and skills level
Computer Systems and Applications Proficiency
From the first day of employment, you begin comparing what is similar to or different from your previous jobs. For example, almost every job requires the use of computer systems and applications. This is even more true today in a hybrid / remote workplace.
When the computer systems and applications are the same as or similar to what you have used in previous job(s), then your time to competence, or proficiency, is very fast. You already know and have used the underlying structure and navigation protocols of the software.
However, if one or more organization-specific computer systems are not only different from but better than what you’ve used before then you have a learning challenge. A computer system that’s better, even if it’s more complex to learn, will be valuable for you to learn. You will increase your current and future employability by upskilling your computer knowledge and skills
Unfortunately, some computer systems may be different from and worse than what you’ve used in your previous job(s). If the system's features and functionality are worse then it will be frustrating to learn and it will hamper your performance. Hopefully you will be able to recommend better computer systems or upgrades so everyone can improve their performance levels.
Acquiring relevant and up-to-date computer knowledge and skills will always be a professional competence asset.
Organizational Language Proficiency – Terms and Acronyms
Have you ever stopped in a hallway and eavesdropped on a group of your colleagues talking about a business challenge? It often sounds like they are from a different planet. They are using terms that only someone from that area of your business or profession could understand.
Business-speak happens in every organization. When you are oriented to a new organization you are learning that organization’s language. Don’t underestimate the negative impact on your own performance when you can’t quite understand what people are saying, especially in meetings.
One of the fastest and cheapest ways to achieve higher job performance levels is to learn the language (terms and acronyms) used in your organization. Make sure you access an organization- or industry-specific glossary that also includes the meaning of acronyms. An alternative is to prepare your own glossary of terms and acronyms.
Spend time asking for explanations of key terms, with examples and analogies, so you understand the key concepts used within your business or industry. The sooner you can really understand what others are saying and speak the same organization-specific language, the faster you will demonstrate competent performance.
Summary - Your Time to Proficiency Advantage
Becoming proficient faster will make you more valuable to your new organization. The key to achieving this result is taking specific actions to accelerate your time to competence.
- Identify and eliminate your job performance gaps
- Continuously upskill and reskill your computer technology knowledge and skills
- Learn organization- and industry-specific language (terms and acronyms)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Valerie Dixon, M.Ed., CTDP, President of Learnware Design Inc., (www.learnware.com) is a leading learning efficiency and effectiveness strategist and thought leader in the field of workplace learning and performance. Valerie has over 40 years of experience in all aspects of performance needs analysis, learning organization strategy development and learning design. She is the creator and designer of programs and products that accelerate job competence™.
We are learning experts who work with organizational leaders and employees to accelerate job competence™ for increased performance, productivity, and profits.
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