In the modern day business environment, organizations are constantly forced to exhibit innovation and enhanced performance to remain relevant and profitable in an ever increasingly competitive arena.
The input of both the individuals and groups in the organization is invaluable towards the achievement of organizational goals.
Whereas the potential of groups and teams is monumental and crucial and as such indispensable to the organization, there comes a time when the fate of the organization may hang on the very shoulders of an individual.
However, it is not always easy to make an impact in an organization especially if you are a new employee. There are various challenges that a new employee faces before he/she gets accepted by other employees.
For example, competition is always rife among employees and conflicts of interest are always bound to occur. This is mainly attributed to the fact that each organization has a culture that new employees must adhere to.
At the same time, existing employees always undermine new employees or view them as threats. With this in mind, this study shall provide a detailed analysis of the challenges new employees are bound to face upon joining a new organization.
How these challenges affect the emotional status of the new employee shall be discussed and the various factors that may mitigate their productivity addressed.
Solutions as to how a new employee can adapt to the new environment with ease shall also be offered. To this end, a detailed analysis on how being a new employee affects an individual’s stress levels, motivation and attitude towards work shall be presented.
The organizational context
Morgan defines an organization as an institute, group or an association which has a specific purpose and goals. For a group to deem itself as an organization, there must be observable elements of cooperation and coordination within the members of the group by a pre-prescribed format.
As such, the key to the establishment of any organization is the presence of some common and quantifiable goals which are to be pursued collectively.
In an organization, the role that an individual plays must be looked at against the background of the overall effects that his actions may have on the entire organization. However, being a new employee has a devastating effect on the role that the individual must play.
For example, other employees may intentionally refuse to share vital information, the managers and supervisors may undermine your capabilities thereby assigning you tasks that are below your potential, and you may face difficulties in socializing with other members since friendship is a process that requires trust and time neither of which a new employee possesses.
Consequently, the new employees find it very difficult to get work done since they are often isolated and without adequate knowledge of the organizational structure and mechanisms.
Traditional organizations have been characterized by rigidity and structural form whereby emphasis on an individuals input has not been as pronounced.
The traditional organization is modeled around pre-defined plans and set goals which are all directed towards the optimization of performance by the organization.
Most of the activities are designed such that they adhere to organizational routines that are inherent to a well-established structure.
In this regard, new employees always find it hard to adjust to the system being utilized in the new organization. This level of frustration de-motivates them thus affecting the morale they had while joining as well as their attitude towards work.
The social process of joining a new organization
A social process can be defined as the activities that an individual does to facilitate interactions in a given setting or society.
One of the most important attributes in this process is communication. Communication refers to the verbal and non-verbal cues used to ensure that people understand each other. When joining a new organization, it is always important to ensure that you have the best communication skills.
This not only allows you to get to know other employees, but it also ensures that they get to understand you and what you represent.
As such, the first step when joining a new organization should be to introduce yourself and the role that you are to play with other employees. In so doing, you eliminate the probability of being misjudged.
Also, the introduction also removes the tension that may exist between you and other employees all the while giving you a chance to gather some information about the people you are about to work with and how the organization works.
After introducing yourself, you can categorize fellow employees in terms of their perception towards you and their roles in the organization.
Having such information is always very important to new employees because they can identify the people that are willing to help them understand the organization (orientation) and understand how to approach different people in case of some sort of complication.
Present conditions have called for restructuring to how organizations function. Nadler’s study (cited in Malhotra 2000, p.1) indicates that the traditional organizational structure was built for a relatively stable and predictable environment.
This is contrary to the present day environment which is characterized by an increased level of instability and the risk of unforeseen changes in the business environment for organizations.
This new environment in which the organizations find themselves calls for a reassessment of organizational practices. One of the reassessments made is the placement of even greater emphasis and value on the input of teams within the human resources of the organization.
With this in mind, a new employee would do well if he/she would identify people to team up with. Upon joining a group, a new employee can participate in various activities through suggestions.
If you are a new employee and you do things on your own, the chances of creating enemies are always very high. As such, they are a member of a team that enables a new employee to showcase his/her talents and abilities without being judged.
Teams are also a great avenue through which a new employee can understand the working mechanisms of employees, their strengths and weaknesses and the factors that motivate them.
With such knowledge, the new employee can be able to manipulate his/her actions such that they are acceptable by a majority thereby earning the trust and respect deserved from other employees.
In certain circumstances, the preserving of the corporate culture of the organization can make a difference in how a new employee relates to other employees. This is especially so when the culture has been responsible for the successful execution of tasks in the organization over a long period.
This being the case, it is obvious that the success of an organization can be jeopardized by any move that threatens to weaken the corporate culture of the organization. Morgan states that corporate cultures develop “as an ethos created and sustained by social processes to bury our differences.”
This means that the culture is a means by which the various disparate members of the organization can forge some form of alliance and thus work towards. As such, it is always imperative that the new employee adopts the culture of the organization to avoid conflicts.
Whereas the individual can be seen to be a potent force acting for the good of the organization, there may be instances whereby this individual can lead to the failure of the organization. Cyert and March present the organization as a coalition of individuals who have goals.
There, therefore, exists the potential for internal goal conflict due to the diverse individuals that make up the organization. New employees are often tempted to project the goals that reflect on their values. This is very risky because it may lead to the failure of the whole organization.
As such, employees should ensure that they communicate their ideas to relevant authorities before making decisions that can affect the organization. Solo asserts that the economy in place favors the collective goals and those values that reflect the needs of groups rather than personal groups.
This being the case, any emphasis on the individual’s values may negatively impact the organization.
Challenges of the social process of joining a new organization
At present, most economies in the world are working towards recovering from the credit crunch that hit almost all countries in the world. It is a reasonable assumption that most organizations were forced to make changes that included cutting on costs or laying off employees to remain profitable.
Such changes may prove to be stressful, may affect the motivation of employees and may force them to develop a negative attitude towards work. In such times, there is a need for a flame of optimism to be fanned in the organization.
Bolden et al. state that an optimistic nature is one of the defining behaviors associated with a transformational leader. A person who can enthusiastically talk about the needs of the organization and draw a compelling image of the bright future that all in the organization can look forward to.
In all organizations, there arise contentious issues which elicit different reactions at some point in time. How these issues are diffused may spell out the difference between the subsequent success and failure of the organization.
As a new employee, it is important to ensure that you follow the stipulated procedures during conflict resolution. In so doing, the employee not only reduces the stress associated with conflicts but also helps in creating a positive self-image.
We all face various physical and emotional challenges as we progress in life. How we perceive and subsequently react to these challenges differs and in some cases, our reaction may lead to stressful tendencies.
Stress on a psychological level has been defined as pressure or worry that emanates from problems in one’s life. This condition poses a threat to the mental as well as the physical well being of a person. Joining a new organization is always stressful.
This can be attributed to the fact that there are many new challenges and situations that needs to be addressed. This accompanied by the fear of rejection and failure makes each day a stressful ordeal to new employees.
However, stress at this stage can only be diminished by acknowledging that things are never going to be easy. Also, it is always easy to ask for help than to struggle alone. Asking for help does not make one look weak and incompetent; instead, it shows the willingness to learn and maybe a great motivator.
Ambition and an achievement-oriented nature are some of the traits that are inherent all new employees because they always set out to make a difference in the organization.
Whereas these traits are desirable and necessary for this task, they may have detrimental effects if they are exhibited in an exaggerated form.
If an individual is overly ambitious, he may be tempted to act in ways that are beneficial to him/her at the expense of other members of the organization.
This may alienate him/her to the other members of the organization who may then proceed to sabotage his activities thus negatively impacting the organization.
This study has highlighted the social process that should be followed by new employees joining an organization.
The challenges that they may face have been provided and solutions offered. It is therefore important that all new employees exercise some patience if they want their social integration process to be successful.
Bolden R., Gosling J., Marturano A., & Dennison P., A Review of Leadership Theory and Competency Frameworks, 2003. PDF File. Web.
Cyert, M. R. & G. J. March, A behavioral Theory of the Firm, Wiley-Blackwell, California, 1992.
Huszczo G., Tools for Team Leadership: Delivering the X-factor in Team Excellence, Davies-Black Publishing, New York, 2004.
London M., Leadership Development: Paths to Self-insight and Professional Growth, Routledge, New York, 2002.
Malhotra Y., ‘Knowledge Management & New Organization Forms: A Framework for Business Model Innovation’, Information Resources Management Journal, vol. 13, no. 1, 2000, pp. 5-14.
Morgan G., Images of Organization, Sage, California, 2006.
Solo, A. R., Economic Organizations and Social System, University of Michigan Press, Michigan, 2000.