The 5 people you need to make friends with at work
Knowing the right people can get you extra perks — and even put you on the path to a promotion.
When you start a new job, you’ll want to make the right connections as quickly as possible.
“After spending time and energy getting the role, the last thing you want to do is sabotage your success by getting in with the wrong crowd,” says TyAnn Osborn of Bellevue, Washington-based HR firm Osborn Consulting Group
Remember, though, you aren’t at work to make your new besties — you’re there to form quality relationships that will support you in achieving the organization’s goals.
That said, some relationships are more valuable than others. These are the five people you should try to get to know first.
1. The IT pro
The most important person to befriend is the person responsible for fixing computers, troubleshooting software and managing systems, says Tor Refsland, a productivity expert based in Oslo, Norway. He also recommends befriending whoever is in charge of telecommunications, whether it’s an IT position or is overseen by a director of communications. Having an in with people in these departments can put you at the top of the to-do list when your device (and thus you) starts having a melt down — not to mention helping you get an upgrade more quickly than you expected.
2. The receptionist
People who work the front desk often have a gatekeeper role, which means they hold a lot of power.
They’re the eyes and ears of the company, Refsland says. They know who’s coming and going, how long they’ve been at the company and all sorts of other useful information. “Make a connection here and you’ll know what’s going on under the radar,” he says.
3. The boss
Yes, you’ve got to rock your job to be a success at work. That’s key to getting your boss to respect you. But if he or she also likes you you’ll be top of mind when it’s time for a raise or promotion. “Your boss and other bosses have big influence in the company — it’s always a smart move to befriend them,” Refsland says.
Easier said than done, right? It’s not like you’re going to ask the person who signs off on your paychecks to grab a beer after work.
But you can start by making idle conversation on personal topics where you know you have overlap (“How was the surfing in Oahu? I’m planning a trip there next year…”). Eventually, once you’re more buddy-buddy, you can work your way up to lunch
4. The administrative professional
It’s not just the bosses who have significant influence on your career. People who manage those executives’ calendars can also be very helpful connections, says New York City career coach Angelina Darrisaw.
In addition, they often carry out high-level tasks or delegate projects you could get involved in.
5. The influencer
In every company, there are a few people everyone sees as valuable and powerful, Refsland says. “These people have a lot of influence when big decisions are taken, and it`s always an advantage to have a good relationship with them.”
To make connections with these people, set up one-onone meetings asking them for their advice as you start your job, advises Osborn. Ask questions like “what made you join this company?” and “what keeps you here?” Find out how they measure success and who else they recommend you talk to in order to learn more about the organization.
“People will usually help connect you to the real movers and shakers,” says Osborn, “and steer you away from the lower performers or employees bad attitudes.”