Like many young upstarts fresh-faced out of university, my first taste of full time employment was on a rotational graduate scheme. As such a grad, every six months or so you find yourself whisked off to a new team, a new role, new challenges: all good stuff.
However, mixed in with all this excitement, you often come face to face with an array of frustratingly outdated business practices. That’s not to speak ill of the teams welcoming you in; like technical debt in a growing software platform, many aspects of day-to-day life in any organisation simply don’t get the attention they need. Everyone has other priorities, and consecutive years of “that’ll do” can compound without anyone realising.
Whether these frustrations take the form of overly complex approval flows blocking would-be simple tasks, or that one spreadsheet that everybody hates working with (but for some reason controls the fate of an entire department), the idea of pushing for change in this strange new world can seem an impossible task. Even if you have an idea that you think could work, you may feel it is beyond your station to tell established team-members how to be better motivated to do their jobs.
These reservations are perfectly understandable, but they don’t do anybody any favours.
A fresh pair of eyes picks up on things that have previously gone unnoticed (ask any great HR Director or CEO) and as a new start with relatively few existing responsibilities you are perfectly placed to take the initiative. Whilst refactoring a sluggish waterfall department into a group of agile enthusiasts overnight may be beyond your current reach, small increments can still make a big difference.
Team-mates wasting hours tracing through ungainly email trails? Push for a switch to a collaboration platform like Slack.
Sweat and tears being poured into Excel graphs which are then printed out and become immediately out of date? Demonstrate the new level of insight an interactive visualisation tool like Tableau can provide (and bin the damn printer already – its 2017 for heaven’s sake).
We all owe a debt to those experienced colleagues who take the time to show us the ropes when we are first starting out. Leverage your new perspective; make their work life that little bit easier. They’ll almost certainly thank you for it.