Tuesday, April 16, 2024 | Shawwal 6, 1445 H
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The changing face of the workplace...

An absolute boon in learning your job, is carrying a notebook with you, and making flow charts of tasks

Recent changes in the employment and workplace structures across several of the Sultanate of Oman’s leading private sector employers, have almost certainly ushered in a wholesale revision of employment packages, more in keeping with economic imperatives and international employment agreements and standards.

While the informal ‘sinking lid’ policies being applied to expatriate employment are creating significantly greater opportunities for Omani graduates, the focus now must be to ensure the continued development of a vibrant national workforce, not only with continuous professional development and self-improvement as the basis of international competitiveness, but by meeting the organisational needs of new employees.

Employers must balance their naivety, and their job, and that’s not easy! Most, for the last 50 years or so, have considered workplace inductions as fulfilling that task, however, wiser counsel is now prevailing, and what is known as ‘onboarding,’ over a three-, six-, or twelve-month period, linked to probationary employment, is now seen as much more effective in producing quality employees, and significantly higher rates of retention.

New employees will face challenges, but being prepared for the workplace, being wiser about what lies ahead, can mitigate those potential speed bumps. So here is some sage advice, cobbled over several generations on both sides of the employer/employee fence.

First, first impressions are vital, and being able to introduce yourself, demonstrating a measure of humility, eye contact, and a smile, are the four points of first contact: Lean in, handshake, first name, smile. Simple, yet effective. You will never remember everyone, or everything, from your workplace introduction... that’s normal, but you can create a good impression, making your life much easier.

I know, ‘we have the clocks, and you have the time...’ But really, being at work on time, not leaving early, and taking your breaks according to your contract, is not only a matter of meeting your client’s needs but showing your respect for your employer and colleagues. Blaming ‘traffic,’ every day is a poor excuse for ten minutes of extra sleep. In a similar vein, maintain consistent dress, and personal presentation standards. Oh, and of course, wean yourself away from your mobile phone. Workplaces now rarely allow them.

An absolute boon in learning your job, is carrying a notebook with you, and making flow charts of tasks. There is nothing worse for colleagues than showing you the same thing repeatedly. Flow charts make all tasks easier when you consider that so many tasks today are process-driven... Step 1, step 2, etc, etc, and your ability to ‘absorb’ workplace information is critical towards being accepted as part of a team.

Task completion is imperative. There can be nothing worse for a client than to have their enquiry, or their needs, not met. This reflects badly upon you, and your employer, so, if you don’t know... don’t guess or assume... ask! And if you do get something wrong, don’t ignore it, hope it will go away, or deny it. Own it! Take ownership, take responsibility, and take the consequences. Honesty is always the best policy.

In its earliest days, work can be a cold environment, you may feel like nobody ‘likes’ you, nobody will help you, and you have no friends... well, insecurity does that, and often a new employee is a threat to the status quo, so you must be what you will always need to be in the workplace... resilient. That ability to recover, adapt, bounce back, is what will make you indispensable to your employer. Well, that and a work ethic. Most of you will think you know what work is, but really you have no idea, and will find your workplace a rude awakening... but that’s why you get the ‘big bucks,’ as they say.

The workplace, for most of us, completes us! In a very modest way, we are forced to confront difficulties in an almost gladiatorial manner, workplace ‘gallows’ humour helps, but as Nietzsche intimated about the school of life... ‘what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.’

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