How can I make sure I fit in?

In a workplace of any reasonable size, you’re unlikely to hit it off with every single one of their co-workers, however easy-going and friendly you are. But you can take steps to get on with most of the people most of the time. Here are a few rules of thumb if you’re just starting out in a job and keen to get off on a good footing with your new team:

  • Try to fit in with the culture – the dress code, the level of formality, and the way colleagues interact professionally. For example, if you insist on wearing a suit when everyone else is wearing jeans, it could send the message that you want to set yourself apart from the group.   
  • Accept invitations to meet your colleagues at social functions after hours (or lunch, if you have commitments after work), where you can get to know them on a more personal level without the stresses and constraints of the immediate work environment.
  • Do some of the inviting. Show others you are interested in including and getting to know them, and they are more likely to think of inviting you to social outings in future. 
  • Don’t be afraid to ask colleagues for help with work-related problems. As well as helping you get on with your job, it shows them you value their expertise and opinions.  
  • Don't be unnecessarily critical of your colleagues or their work. If you do have an issue with someone, approach them about it directly rather than complaining about them behind their back. (Rehearsing what you want to say to them in advance might help keep the conversation constructive and minimise confrontation.)
Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.