Powering Change In The Workplace | Meet the Team: Shenel Backhouse

Meet the Team: Shenel Backhouse

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Posted 25 April 2019 13:15:00 BST | By Admin

Starting in a new job is a universal experience – at some point, we’ve all been the ‘new kid’, quite possibly feeling awkward and nervous as we get to grips with our new role and responsibilities. Of course, while we all know how it feels, how we’re treated in a new role can make all the difference. It’s up to our new colleagues to make us feel welcome and put us at ease, and most of us have experienced both ends of the spectrum.

What many businesses overlook is that the first days in a new organisation is crucial to an individual forming their opinion of the workplace, their colleagues, and just how positive they feel about their role. Since talent retention is an increasing focus in a continually competitive landscape, business leaders would do well to take note that how welcomed and accepted a new employee can feel could go a long way to impacting how easily that employee may be retained.

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Being the newbie in any office can be difficult; each workplace comes with its complexities and politics. Shenel Backhouse explains how she managed being the new employee in a busy front-of-house team, focusing on how she dealt with various common challenges for any new role:

Communication with Colleagues

How did Shenel identify those colleagues within the workplace who can assist with questions and provide important information?

Having a line manager that makes me feel comfortable to ask questions makes a huge difference, being informed allows me to learn who to go to in certain situations. It’s all about communication and being confident enough to engage with everyone and ask for help if its needed. If there are specific people dealing with specific things, I make notes for myself to refer back to.

Learning who does what in a new company is simply down to communication and listening, not just from work colleagues but myself as well, you must not be afraid to ask. Being front of house, there is a necessity to know what everyone does as often you are the person people come to and ask if they are unsure themselves, so I have made sure that I have listened, taken notes and asked when I have been unsure. Of course, I am still learning myself so there are situations where I don’t know the answer, but the key is to try and help find the answer, then not only have I helped someone but I have learnt something myself too.

Forming relationships

Forming relationships within the workplace is vital, especially since we spend up to eight hours a day with our colleagues. How did Shenel start the process of forming relationships?

Being new can be very daunting, everyone already knows everyone, again, being front-of-house allows me to become involved with everyone. I make sure if I see a new face, I introduce myself. It has been very easy to become part of the Condeco team, because everyone makes an effort to introduce themselves or even just pop over and have a chat.

There’s always a worry of feeling isolated when you are front of house, and even more so when you are new, but that really isn’t the case here at all, with a mixture of being interested and willing to interact with everyone as well as working with people that are just as interested in finding out more about you. You really don’t feel like the new person for very long, which is great.

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Information overload

We all remember what it was like during our first few weeks in a new working environment, when it seems like there is more information to take in than is humanly possible! Shenel takes us through her process of learning and retaining all the new information:

Notes, lots and lots of notes! You can walk out of work at 5pm on your first day and be thinking, ‘OH MY GOD’ how will I remember all of that… BUT, when you work with people that give great guidance and instructions, you soon find yourself getting into a routine.

Day to day tasks start to become your ‘norm’, and the notes slowly stop being needed. You just have to give yourself a little time and not panic, no one is expecting you to know EVERYTHING after your first day. If you just take it all in, be willing to learn and most importantly, listen – in no time, you become so much more confident.

Shenel Backhouse, Front of House Manager, Condeco

New industries

Starting a new role in an industry you were previously unfamiliar with brings a new understanding of workplace trends, acronyms, product and skills. Shenel explains what it was like getting to grips with an industry she wasn’t fully aware of:

Learning all about a company is a big thing when you start somewhere new, so a genuine interest is essential. I don’t think it’s something that happens overnight, so I think you have to allow yourself time. As a receptionist, you are not necessarily as involved with things as everyone else is in their day to day roles, but I still think it is very important to know just as much.

I personally had already heard of Condeco when I came for the interview so it wasn’t completely alien to me, but of course I only knew a minimal amount, so I had a genuine interest to find out more when I started. I think you are always learning at work; new things are introduced, things are updated, things change, so you have to keep yourself up to date with all of this.

Paying attention, asking questions and even just watching and listening to how people do things throughout their normal day, you can pick up so much.”


The statistics

According to statistics it takes 45 days for a new employee to acclimate to a new role. On day 28, how did it go for Shenel?

I have done front-of-house roles for many years and this by far has been the easiest ‘settling in’ period I have ever had at a new company. I said to a few people at the end of my first week that it felt like I had been here for so much longer, that can only be a good thing in my opinion. The people are what make a great company great, and Condeco has a lot of great people. Everyone has been so welcoming, and I think if you go in to a new role open minded and ready to embrace a new challenge, you will do just fine.

The Global Workplace, Different countries, different work cultures
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