Be irreplaceable

11 Mar 2024

Starting a new job can be nerve-racking – getting to grips with doing it well, even more so.  
As someone who has seen this from all angles, Julie Graham, Ingeus’ CEO of Employment Services shares her thoughts on how to keep your manager – and yourself – happy at work. 

I speak to a lot of employers in my role here at Ingeus. Different sized companies, different industries, different recruitment needs, but one thing they tell me is overwhelmingly consistent. They want staff with the right attitude. Very often, the actual mechanics, the ins and outs of a job can be learnt, but if people don’t have the commitment and enthusiasm to try, then that’s not the person for them.       

Going to work holds many hidden challenges, especially for those not used to it. Overcoming issues at home and interacting with a whole new group of people while learning a new job can leave some people not completely reflecting the will they have to work.  

It’s something we often see in the participants on our employability programmes. Facing new jobs they desperately want while navigating in-work situations they’re ill-equipped to deal with.  

Work and Health Programme Pioneer tackles this mismatch. It provides personalised support to help people get back into work and continued support once they are in employment. It’s often something quite straightforward that can make all the difference.  

Placing yourself in the shoes of your employer often helps – what would you look for in the perfect employee? Here’s four top tips we give to our participants.       

Be friendly and respectful – New colleagues and customers will expect you to be nervous and to take time to get to grips with your new role, but you can hit the ground running simply by being friendly. Make eye contact if you can, smile and say ‘Hi’ to start building a positive and professional relationship with them. You’ll probably meet many different people, with different opinions, outlooks, and cultures. Even if you don’t always see eye to eye, it’s important to show respect to everyone.  

Show enthusiasm – Show your employer that that you’re doing your best and taking your responsibilities seriously. It can be hard to completely separate yourself from your home life, but being at work doesn’t involve just physically being there. You’re there for a purpose, so limit personal calls and scrolling, ask questions if you don’t understand something, and take comments constructively. Ask for feedback to show you want to do your job better. If something goes wrong, apologise, but don’t be deflated. Remember, you never fail until you stop trying.  

Be reliable and professional – Essentially, can your employer count on you to be at work and get the job done? This could be more complex than it sounds, and is one where an in-work advisor or workplace buddy could offer some practical help: 

Give more – Workplaces are changeable. Employers value people who are flexible and hardworking. In time, stepping up for overtime or extra responsibilities, and volunteering for work groups will take your skills to the next level. 

What if things aren’t going as well as you’d hoped? 

The very worst option is to phone in sick or not turn up. It’s important to keep communicating. Talk to your supervisor, an advisor or a colleague for help. There may be a simple solution. Avoid being defensive or angry, keep your thoughts off social media and on  finding a solution. 

Remember, you’ve been employed because of your potential. Be sure to maximise it and keep enjoying the financial, health and social benefits of being in work. 

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