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Your transition…7 Steps that will drive your Onboarding Process

As the Veteran Staffing Program continues to build momentum and reach out to our military service members past and present, we’re going to jump ahead and talk about how to navigate the first weeks of your new career.  Nick Guidry recently transitioned to HP and you can read about that here.  Nick is a leader in the new employee orientation program at HP and is here to share knowledge and best practices about orientating yourself for success when you start your new career.



After 10 years of military service, like many others, I thought in depth about the next step in my professional career.  For me, the next logical step was a transition from the public sector to the private sector.  This realization spurred the decision to make a change, which would end up beginning a two year job search journey. 

My change plan would lead me to interviewing and accepting a position at HP.  In preparation for the career change I began to read books related to professional and career management, listen to podcasts about career development, and speak to professionals in the functional area I wanted to work in.  This practice would become the foundation for my successful onboarding at HP, and drive my performance as an individual contributor.


But…what are the best practices from the veteran perspective to successful onboarding at HP?


There is some formal training that is very important; however, for the veteran demographic there are some informal action items that I believe will make veteran transitions smoother.


1.  Introduce yourself….To everyone

Many of us want to hit the ground running and become productive on day one!  However, ultimately much of the success or failure that you will have as part of a professional organization is based on relationships.  From day one your bridge to success must be “under construction” and the vital planks in this bridge rely on you introducing yourself to your teammates, cafeteria staff, administrative personnel, security, the janitorial staff, and well…EVERYONE! You never know who could be a gatekeeper able to unlock whatever door is keeping you from completing objectives. This is the same process as the sponsorship of a new squad or team member! We want everyone to know us, and we want to know them. 


2.  Find Key Locations

As a professional Soldier, I understood the importance of knowing ones’ surroundings.  In the corporate environment this is also important.  The same strategic importance placed on this in the tactical operations center should be implemented in the corporate environment.  The following are the key areas that you should locate on day one:

  1. Restrooms, both male and female
  2. Break room, identify where coffee is.
  3. Employee Cafeteria
  4. Closest Parking Areas
  5. Security Desk
  6. Information Technology
  7. Printers, closest to you area of operation.
  8. Best restaurants in area.

3.  Organize Your Stuff!

The reason you were hired is to add-value to the organization! Keep this at the fore-front of your mind, and use it as a litmus test when it comes to setting up your work station.  I have seen, in different organizations, teammates heavily personalizing their work areas, but I find this ineffective in a culture of productivity.  Do what you have to do…but remember to set your area up in a manner that makes you the most productive you that you can be!  Organization of your work area should begin on day one, but only after you introduce yourself to EVERYONE!!!!


4. Connectivity Matters

To be fully productive in most modern organizations you must be able to access a telephone, and a computer (most organization assign laptops).   The first few days may be challenging, based on your organization, when it comes to information technology and access to software applications.  I recommend a two-step approach to mitigating problems associated with IT.  Query your manager about what information assets you will need for your role.  Ask what the process is to order equipment, and to secure access.  The manager will either escalate the issue, or counsel you on how to execute.  I believe that you should reach out to information technology personnel to resolve any issues…remember relationships get things done, and this is one of the most important professional relationships you will have.


5. Write Everything Down

Mark Hortsman of the excellent manager and career focused podcast, Manager-Tools (Career-Tools), asserts that generally you should write anything down that you could potentially forget.  This would include the key locations discussed earlier in this post, and crucial items discovered while conversing and which you believe are important to your teammates…and NEW MANAGER. This is a practice that will pay dividends during one on ones, meetings, and even in your personal life. 


6. Build a Team of Cohorts

When entering any organization be sure to locate those personnel whom are beginning roughly around the same time period.  Starting at a new organization is sure to be a difficult transition for most people.  Having a support structure will make that transition easier.  During employee orientation programs exchange contact information with other new hires.  This new group of folks may be able to converse about wins, losses, and keep each other informed about happenings.  Moreover, this also can help build your relationships throughout the enterprise.


7. Secure your first one on one with your boss 

The One on One is the most important communication that you will have with your new manager.  I am sure that we will discuss in more detail how I recommend that we prepare for one on ones, but you should be active in scheduling your first one…on one.  You want to foster this relationship.  Offer an agenda of items that you would like to chat about.  I recommend 10 minutes for you, 10 minutes for them, and 10 minutes in discussion of the future.


I want to take a moment to thank Nick for his time and thoughts about his journey to HP. You may connect with Nick on LinkedIn and check back for more stories from veterans now building great careers at HP! 

To get started on your next career with HP please visit us at www.hp.com/jobs and apply today!

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