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New job? Commit to conduct, attendance, performance

  • Published Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, at 7:25 a.m.

New on the job? You don’t have 90 days to make an impression. You don’t have a slow ramp-up time. You are expected to hit the ground running.

At a recent meeting of hiring officials from some big Kansas City-area companies, Bob Roper made points that some workers need to hear.

Roper, human resources director at Citywide Maintenance, has watched uncounted new employees come on board – and then seen many fail to succeed within just a few weeks on the job.

“I like to think of the acronym CAP, for conduct, attendance and performance,” Roper said. “You have to quickly show your commitment to the work through all three.”

Every workplace, he said, has its distinct “hot buttons” or priorities. New hires need to rapidly understand what those are.

Some companies, for example, expect perfect attendance for anyone new on the job.

In places like that, you won’t be thought well of if you ask for a long weekend off to attend a wedding just a few weeks after being hired. Sure, illness and emergencies happen, but new employees need to be cautious about requests for time off.

Other workplaces put strong priority on conduct. How polite or formal are in-office relationships? What are the standards for using e-mail or office phones for personal business? How do people handle interruptions when they’re busy? How do people dress?

Roper said new hires need to watch carefully to see how co-workers act and interact. The boss or other respected people in the workplace set standards that need to be emulated to fit in.

Job performance is, of course, the No. 1 way that new hires are evaluated.

In some jobs, showing up comes first; you can’t perform if you’re not at work.

In other jobs, the work product will speak for itself. New hires must meet productivity and quality expectations, whether working on their laptops in a coffeehouse or at home.

Bottom line: Don’t take a job if you’re not up to meeting the requirements.

Diane Stafford is the workplace and careers columnist at the Kansas City Star. Her blog can be found at economy.kansascity.com

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