Workplace Doctor: New employee needs showing how job is done



I have joined a new IT company where the pace of the workflow is pretty fast. In fact it seems so fast that no one has any time to show me the ropes. How can I get up to speed on my job without appearing to bother the staff around me with constant questions? PA, Abu Dhabi

This is a surprisingly common problem, and one which shows the employing company in a pretty poor light, in my view. One of the last things we want to do in a new company, or even in a new role within our current company, is to look needy or dependent on others. But at the same time we don’t want to make mistakes that to others will look avoidable, just because we don’t yet know our way around. I am assuming from what you say that this is a service company with clients, so as with all service providers, getting up to speed fast really is mission critical.

There are two ways forward – the formal and the informal. The formal route means asking your line manager or your HR manager for details of your induction programme. High-performing companies, aware of the issue you raise, are careful to induct newcomers properly so that they can contribute as quickly as possible. It’s about maximising both willingness and ability: you are clearly willing to contribute and keen to do so, but until you are actually able to do the job for which you have been employed, then your contribution will be artificially limited. So it is the organisation’s job – and it is obviously in its best interests – to get your ability level up as quickly as possible. I am not talking technical ability here, but local knowledge. How do they do this? By showing you the ropes, so that you understand how they want things done. You can then add to your technical competence (which is why they employed you in the first place) this necessary local knowledge.

I’d be disappointed in any organisation that didn’t have this sort of induction as part of its standard operating procedure, as the immediate benefits are so obvious. But let’s assume for a moment that there really is no formally supported induction programme or buddy scheme. If there is no such programme, then the need for you to get that local knowledge doesn’t go away. It simply becomes your responsibility to source it. Put aside your growing suspicion that you may have made a dreadful error in accepting this job, suspend judgement and be prepared to take some action yourself. Go the informal route. Don’t just blunder around “learning by doing”. That approach may work when you’re self-assembling furniture, but it is a little more dangerous in the workplace, especially in a service provider.

Instead, ask for someone to become your mentor. This individual can share their local knowledge with you, from the best coffee station to how to fill in expenses forms, via the preferred approach to the job you’ve been hired to do – things like time sheets, contact call protocols, dress code, target response times … all the things you need to know if you are to be able to do your job to the best of your ability.

You need an informed, experienced individual who can get you swiftly up to speed and maximise your ability to contribute. It won’t take that person long, assuming you’re reasonably smart and quick on the uptake. Who in the group seems to you to have a generous nature? Is there anyone with whom you have bonded? They are the ones to approach.

You can also do plenty to help yourself. Pay attention – how are things done? Pick out the achievers in the group. Listen to them and watch them carefully. Emulate them and you are at least basing what you do on your perception of best practice within the group.

The other big thing to understand is customer expectations. What do the customers want, expect or demand from the company? You really do need to deliver against these criteria right from the start, especially if your company is involved in hardware or software installation on the client’s site, with all the disruption and upheaval that can involve. So here you really should be able to look to the formal processes of your company. There should be some clear, agreed and published guidelines about forward-facing work. You need to get hold of these quickly and read them carefully before you set foot on client premises and end up with that same foot in your own mouth.

Roger Delves, director of the Ashridge Masters in Management at Ashridge Business School, is an expert on authentic leadership, organisational politics and iterated relationships. He is also co-author of The Top 50 Management Dilemmas: Fast solutions to Everyday Challenges published last year. Email him at business@thenational.ae for the Workplace Doctor’s advice on your challenges, whether as an employee, a manager or a colleague

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Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

NYBL PROFILE

Company name: Nybl 

Date started: November 2018

Founder: Noor Alnahhas, Michael LeTan, Hafsa Yazdni, Sufyaan Abdul Haseeb, Waleed Rifaat, Mohammed Shono

Based: Dubai, UAE

Sector: Software Technology / Artificial Intelligence

Initial investment: $500,000

Funding round: Series B (raising $5m)

Partners/Incubators: Dubai Future Accelerators Cohort 4, Dubai Future Accelerators Cohort 6, AI Venture Labs Cohort 1, Microsoft Scale-up 

The Sky Is Pink

Director: Shonali Bose

Cast: Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Farhan Akhtar, Zaira Wasim, Rohit Saraf

Three stars

Messi at the Copa America

2007 – lost 3-0 to Brazil in the final

2011 – lost to Uruguay on penalties in the quarter-finals

2015 – lost to Chile on penalties in the final

2016 – lost to Chile on penalties in the final

World Cup final

Who: France v Croatia
When: Sunday, July 15, 7pm (UAE)
TV: Game will be shown live on BeIN Sports for viewers in the Mena region

Abu Dhabi’s Racecard

5pm: Al Bithnah – Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (Turf) 1,200m
5.30pm: Al Khari – Hanidcap (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,200m
6pm: Al Qor – Handicap (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,600m
6.30pm: Wathba Stallions Cup – Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 (T) 1,600m
7pm: Al Badiyah – Handicap (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 2,200m
7.30pm: Al Hayl – Handicap (TB) Dh80,000 (T) 2,200m

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE. 

Read part four: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part one: how cars came to the UAE

 

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

Race card:

6.30pm: Maiden; Dh165,000; 2,000m

7.05pm: Handicap; Dh165,000; 2,200m

7.40pm: Conditions; Dh240,000; 1,600m

8.15pm: Handicap; Dh190,000; 2,000m

8.50pm: The Garhoud Sprint Listed; Dh265,000; 1,200m

9.25pm: Handicap; Dh170,000; 1,600m

10pm: Handicap; Dh190,000; 1,400m

So what is Spicy Chickenjoy?

Just as McDonald’s has the Big Mac, Jollibee has Spicy Chickenjoy – a piece of fried chicken that’s crispy and spicy on the outside and comes with a side of spaghetti, all covered in tomato sauce and topped with sausage slices and ground beef. It sounds like a recipe that a child would come up with, but perhaps that’s the point – a flavourbomb combination of cheap comfort foods. Chickenjoy is Jollibee’s best-selling product in every country in which it has a presence.
 

WORLD CUP SQUAD

Dimuth Karunaratne (Captain), Angelo Mathews, Avishka Fernando, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis (wk), Kusal Perera (wk), Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera, Isuru Udana, Jeffrey Vandersay, Jeevan Mendis, Milinda Siriwardana, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

Results

Stage 3:
1. Einer Rubio (COL) Movistar Team - 4h51’24”
2. Remco Evenepoel (BEL) Soudal Quick-Step - 14"
3. Adam Yates (GBR) UAE Team Emirates - 15"
General classifications:
1. Remco Evenepoel (BEL) Soudal Quick-Step
2. Lucas Plapp (AUS) Ineos Grenaders) - 7"
3. Pello Bilbao (ESP) Bahrain Victorious - 11"

What is graphene?

Graphene is a single layer of carbon atoms arranged like honeycomb.

It was discovered in 2004, when Russian-born Manchester scientists Andrei Geim and Kostya Novoselov were "playing about" with sticky tape and graphite - the material used as "lead" in pencils.

Placing the tape on the graphite and peeling it, they managed to rip off thin flakes of carbon. In the beginning they got flakes consisting of many layers of graphene. But as they repeated the process many times, the flakes got thinner.

By separating the graphite fragments repeatedly, they managed to create flakes that were just one atom thick. Their experiment had led to graphene being isolated for the very first time.

At the time, many believed it was impossible for such thin crystalline materials to be stable. But examined under a microscope, the material remained stable, and when tested was found to have incredible properties.

It is many times times stronger than steel, yet incredibly lightweight and flexible. It is electrically and thermally conductive but also transparent. The world's first 2D material, it is one million times thinner than the diameter of a single human hair.

But the 'sticky tape' method would not work on an industrial scale. Since then, scientists have been working on manufacturing graphene, to make use of its incredible properties.

In 2010, Geim and Novoselov were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics. Their discovery meant physicists could study a new class of two-dimensional materials with unique properties. 

 

SPECS

Engine: 4-litre V8 twin-turbo
Power: 630hp
Torque: 850Nm
Transmission: 8-speed Tiptronic automatic
Price: From Dh599,000
On sale: Now

Cultural fiesta

What: The Al Burda Festival
When: November 14 (from 10am)
Where: Warehouse421,  Abu Dhabi
The Al Burda Festival is a celebration of Islamic art and culture, featuring talks, performances and exhibitions. Organised by the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development, this one-day event opens with a session on the future of Islamic art. With this in mind, it is followed by a number of workshops and “masterclass” sessions in everything from calligraphy and typography to geometry and the origins of Islamic design. There will also be discussions on subjects including ‘Who is the Audience for Islamic Art?’ and ‘New Markets for Islamic Design.’ A live performance from Kuwaiti guitarist Yousif Yaseen should be one of the highlights of the day. 

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

Company profile

Company name: Hayvn
Started: 2018
Founders: Christopher Flinos, Ahmed Ismail
Based: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Sector: financial
Initial investment: undisclosed
Size: 44 employees
Investment stage: series B in the second half of 2023
Investors: Hilbert Capital, Red Acre Ventures

Timeline

1947
Ferrari’s road-car company is formed and its first badged car, the 125 S, rolls off the assembly line

1962
250 GTO is unveiled

1969
Fiat becomes a Ferrari shareholder, acquiring 50 per cent of the company

1972
The Fiorano circuit, Ferrari’s racetrack for development and testing, opens

1976
First automatic Ferrari, the 400 Automatic, is made

1987
F40 launched

1988
Enzo Ferrari dies; Fiat expands its stake in the company to 90 per cent

2002
The Enzo model is announced

2010
Ferrari World opens in Abu Dhabi

2011
First four-wheel drive Ferrari, the FF, is unveiled

2013
LaFerrari, the first Ferrari hybrid, arrives

2014
Fiat Chrysler announces the split of Ferrari from the parent company

2015
Ferrari launches on Wall Street

2017
812 Superfast unveiled; Ferrari celebrates its 70th anniversary

'Spies in Disguise'

Director: Nick Bruno and Troy Quane

Stars: Will Smith, Tom Holland, Karen Gillan and Roshida Jones 

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

RACE CARD

6.30pm Al Maktoum Challenge Round-1 Group 1 (PA) Dh119,373 (Dirt) 1,600m

7.05pm Handicap (TB) Dh102,500 (D) 1,200m

7.40pm Handicap (TB) Dh105,000 (Turf) 1,800m

8.15pm UAE 1000 Guineas Trial (TB) Dh183,650 (D) 1,400m

9.50pm Handicap (TB) Dh105,000 (D) 1,600m

9.25pm Handicap (TB) Dh95,000 (T) 1,000m

Queen

Nicki Minaj

(Young Money/Cash Money)

Specs: 2024 McLaren Artura Spider

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and electric motor
Max power: 700hp at 7,500rpm
Max torque: 720Nm at 2,250rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
0-100km/h: 3.0sec
Top speed: 330kph
Price: From Dh1.14 million ($311,000)
On sale: Now

LA LIGA FIXTURES

Friday Celta Vigo v Villarreal (midnight kick-off UAE)

Saturday Sevilla v Real Sociedad (4pm), Atletico Madrid v Athletic Bilbao (7.15pm), Granada v Barcelona (9.30pm), Osasuna v Real Madrid (midnight)

Sunday Levante v Eibar (4pm), Cadiz v Alaves (7.15pm), Elche v Getafe (9.30pm), Real Valladolid v Valencia (midnight)

Monday Huesca v Real Betis (midnight)


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