Step Up and Step In: How Being New is a Resource

Being the newest member (read: new hire) of a communications team that already works in sync can be intimidating and often means that you are there to learn and adapt to the new culture before engaging. You were obviously hired for your experience and skill set, so why wait until you are fully on-boarded and adjusted to step-up to the task at hand and step-in to your marketing and communications team?

As the newest member of your communications team (and your organization) you are qualified to do something that everyone in the office had a chance to do, but only you are qualified to do right now.

You have the lens of a learner. Sure, you might have heard of your agency or organization before coming onboard, you might even use the resources or services that your agency offers, but you are still going to need to learn – organization mission, goals, big picture solutions, etc. You, new person, are uniquely positioned to be, both, the resident that you are aiming to communicate with and the marketing professional deciding how to communicate; and even though you might have the added incentive of learning about your organization because you now work there, you are also a very important target for existing marketing and communications collateral… because ideally, that collateral explains, in the most efficient and effective way possible, the who, what, where, how, when, and why of your org.

If you, as a consumer of this information, are having a hard time digesting it – there’s a reason why. This certainly doesn’t mean that the marketing and communications team dropped the ball and you’re here to pick it up… it just means that, for whatever reason, the material doesn’t resonate with you (and possibly other people like you) or that it resonated at one point but now things have changed.

Very recently, I played this exact role in joining the marketing and communications team of a small government authority. At the time, the authority was deciding whether or not to pursue a rebrand, to shake some messaging up and appeal to more of our partner-customer base. The only problem was that the current team had spent a lot of time thinking about what was wrong with the current branding and had existed within it for so long that it was hard to look at it through a fresh lens.

While I was not brought in exclusively to be the “outsider perspective” on a new brand, there was a need for a Marketing and Communications Specialist either way, the opportunity to translate the disconnect of the marketing language to its current audience was too great of a learning opportunity to pass up and had to happen quickly, before the current branding specs became my normal as well. As the newest member of the team, I was able to use my clean-slate as a platform to transform the way that we communicate with our partners by:

1- Seeing our brand/communications the way that our customer would with little or no background information

2- Being able to articulate, with marketing knowledge, what was working and what wasn’t working for our current brand

3- Hearing the way that my colleagues explained my organization and its mission and goals and having the platform to share what did not make sense to me

New team member, take this opportunity to step-up for your team, sharing with them the valuable perspective of someone without your “organization’s tinted lens.” Not everything you say will be correct or new to them, but that doesn’t make it less valuable.

Step in, fully, to your new position on the team combining your subject matter expertise and experience with the innate perspective that comes with being the current resident learner. You were hired for this position and, in the moment, that includes your newness. Best of luck!

Jamie Desrosier is a GovLoop Featured Contributor. She has spent the past two years in Colorado working as a Marketing and Communications professional within state and local government technology for government authority, Colorado SIPA. Prior to moving to Colorado, she spent 2 years as a Fulbright Scholar in Malaysia. She spends every day learning as much as she can and is excited to be working on her Master’s of Information Technology Management with a specialization in cybersecurity. You can read her posts here.

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Avatar photo Blake Martin

I love your reframing here. A fresh pair of eyes on any project is a good thing, and taking on this role as a new employee is a great way to get in the weeds and kick off your learning within a new position. Awesome post Jamie.