Here, in the latest article from the new Barden & Chartered Accountants Ireland Career Guide 2023, David Manifold, Chief Financial Officer with eShopWorld (ESW), the global e-commerce company founded in Dublin, gives his best professional insights on getting ahead in a new organisation.
The best advice I can give young professionals on how to hit the ground running in a new job is to ensure you put the right plan in place before your start date.
Having grown from a headcount of 350 to over 1,000 in three short years at eShopWorld, I’ve seen first-hand how putting a strong plan in place before their start date has really benefited some of our new hires.
This plan should clearly detail your goals and objectives, broken out over the short-, medium- and long-term. These goals, and the timeline you put in place, must be realistic, and you should be prepared to revisit and update your plan on a regular basis as you continue your journey through the organisation.
Identify the key stakeholders in the organisation. During your induction, ask for one-to-one time with these decision-makers. This will help you to gain an understanding of the business as a whole.
Today’s accountant needs to have a wide breadth of knowledge when it comes to the dynamics of an organisation and, indeed, the wider industry in which it operates. You need this to perform your role in guiding future strategic direction. Taking the right insights from decision-makers at all levels of the business can provide a goldmine of valuable information.
One critical piece of advice I have here is to take the time you need reflect on what this information means and to form your own ideas and conclusions. This will give you a strong basis for determining your own career trajectory within the organisation. Time and again, I see candidates rush into a new role with bundles of enthusiasm, and ideas they haven’t fully thought through. Unfortunately, this can have consequences. First impressions are important in winning stakeholders over.
I would encourage people to take at least three months of this induction period to muse and reflect on the insights they’ve gathered, and perhaps socialise draft ideas with some of the key stakeholders they have identified, before bringing them to the wider organisation. This will give you a sound foundation on which to build ideas that could genuinely impact the business and set you on the right path for progression.
So, by now you have your plan with your goals and objectives, and you’ve committed to updating the plan as you progress. To help keep you on track, I would highly recommend scheduling in formal one-to-ones with your manager at the outset. You will need this in order to gauge your progress and performance and keep track of where you’re going. If this isn’t standard practice in your organisation, do it yourself. This will demonstrate a willingness to accept feedback (both good and bad!) and, in my view, huge initiative.
Asking your manager to commit time to supporting your personal development is equally important for the wider organisation. I’ve seen first-hand the benefits, from a company perspective, of devoting resources to helping employees grow and develop, beyond their immediate contribution to wider business goals. Giving employees a sense of ownership is key to embedding the right mindset and culture in an organisation.
Starting any new position at any time in your career is often challenging. Everyone will have those familiar feelings of trepidation, but, for young professionals with less experience, it can be especially daunting. Putting a plan in place with support from your manager can really help to lessen the impact of the learning curve, and separate you from the pack.
Stick with it, commit—and, above all, good luck!