Observations to make on your own during your placement

In any group, there are obvious rules and tacit, implicit, often more restrictive rules. You should carefully observe those around you from the very start of your placement, watching the habits, codes, behaviours and relationships between people. Identifying these rules make help you to fit in with the group quickly and easily.

- Understand the hierarchy at the company and how you fit into it (who is really in charge? how are decisions made? who is and isn’t available to you? what is the best path to meet your goals?)

- What value are important and advocated by your company (team spirit, tolerance, initiative, etc., i.e. the corporate culture and the values on which you will be evaluated, judged, integrated and even possibly hired)?

- Should you share your negative remarks and assessments of the company and your co-workers? Please note that this is neither your role nor your responsibility. Give your opinion only if explicitly asked so that you don’t cause any problems or upset anyone

- How should you dress (suit and tie, casual or uniform, and does the company do casual Fridays)?

- Should you say hello and goodbye to your co-workers every day and, if so, how (a “Hello” called out to the room, a kiss on the cheek, a hug or a handshake)?

- Are there any words you cannot say? Are some words codes? Are there any “rites,” things left unsaid, like in any group?

- It would be good for you to take the concepts of efficiency / profitability on board. Your company has serious constraints in terms of finances, production and profitability. You are not accustomed to all these concepts. You need to learn them immediately.

- Learn the company’s health and safety rules. There are usually texts on this subject, often incorporated into its internal rules

- What is the position of the staff and management on religious and political aspects? What are their customs and habits? These are delicate, possibly even taboo subjects. Be sure you don’t shock anyone

- Does your team take a coffee break in the morning? Would it look bad for you not to go? How much time do you get for lunch?

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