Get on board with Onboarding

“You’ve got the job!”

The buzz that comes from hearing those words can’t be denied but, for many of us, that initial euphoria is often replaced with fear.

Whether you’re recently qualified or an experienced hand, learning the ‘rules’ of a new workplace can be daunting. Having confidence in your own ability is one thing but your new workplace will have acceptable patterns, codes, routines to which you are not privy…yet.

How quickly you grasp the workplace culture and the professional (and social) expectations will dictate how comfortably you’ll fit in and how well you will succeed in your new role.

As a new hire, you should be inducted through comprehensive onboarding. Good companies know the value of doing this well, but others are notoriously bad at providing orientation programs. Some might corral a current employee to give a cursory meet, greet and tour of the facilities or, worse still, leave the new employees entirely to their own devices. The new hire is unlikely to learn much in either of these scenarios which are guaranteed to increase rather than diffuse anxiety.

So, while it is the company’s responsibility to help you assimilate, you can do much to get onboard and demonstrate your potential from the outset.

Remember what you promised in your interview.

Don’t reinvent yourself as someone else just to please. You sold your employers a vision of your brand. What was it? A respectful, diligent, professional employee qualified to do the job? A go-getter with original ideas?  Aim to deliver on that promise from day 1.

Demonstrate good time management and organisation.

This isn’t solely to impress your employer (though it undoubtedly will) but for your own sanity. When projects pile up and the pressure is on, a well-practised schedule of goal setting and prioritising will help you avoid pressure situations.

Be patient.

Don’t impose your ideas or expectations too soon. Give yourself time to get to know people and allow them time to see you in action. If you work well, they will be much more responsive to later demands.

Be observant.

While remaining friendly, ‘get the lie of the land’. Avoid becoming embroiled in unhealthy cliques or workplace gossip which can quickly become toxic. For new hires, there is often the temptation to fall for this as a way of joining in, but it pays to be watchful first. Minding your own business isn’t a bad mantra so long as you don’t ignore unsafe or unethical practices or behaviour.

Ask questions judiciously and listen well to the answers.

For new hires, it’s perfectly natural that you will need information or clarification. Aim to ask the most competent source and listen carefully to the answer so you don’t have to ask again. Choose your moment so there’s time to engage with your source. Most people are flattered when asked for help but only if it doesn’t interrupt their own work.

Practise being respectfully assertive.

Aiming to please by always saying ‘yes’ quickly backfires, so learn to say ‘no’ effectively. Provide valid reasons for saying no to additional tasks that exceed your job’s scope. Offer alternative ways of getting the task done or negotiate more realistic completion dates. When time allows, help out colleagues but don’t allow yourself to become a ‘doormat’.

Finally, when you have learnt the ropes and become part of the establishment, it might be worthwhile suggesting that onboarding future employees should become a focus for development!

FIFO Christmas Survival Kit

Ask any experienced FIFO worker and they’ll tell you –Christmas away from loved ones is tough. The gap between site and home suddenly seems so much greater at Christmas, especially when there are small children involved.

But the mining show must go on.

Prepping for the emotional challenges of the festive season can help soften that sense of distance and preserve your own wellbeing. So, whether it’s your first or your twenty-first FIFO Christmas, plan to make it a good one. Here’s how.

Don’t opt out.

Just because you’ll be absent for the festivities doesn’t mean you can’t be part of them. Organise presents now. On Christmas morning, these gifts will connect you with your family and friends, especially if you include a special, thoughtful message.

Dangle a carrot (not for Rudolph!).

Before you fly out, arrange a date for a second Christmas to be celebrated on your return – the FIFO Festivities. This will give you, and your loved ones, something to look forward to on your return. It needn’t be a re-run of the 25th and it might even become a new family tradition.

Treat yourself.

Pack something special, food or drink, that will help to make this trip a little different. Invite loved ones to write you a message and promise you won’t open it until Christmas Day (maybe during your ZOOM catch up). They will enjoy the anticipation as much as you.

Avoid the glums.

Try to avoid negativity – in reality and in your head. Try to keep your ‘self-talk’ positive. Be appreciative of what you do have, not just what you are missing; after all, you have a job and your health. If fellow workers are moaning, and you are unable to distract them from their complaints, give them a wide berth so they don’t bring you down too.

Make the most of the technology – but don’t let it ruin the day.

The capacity to keep connected is a real gift at times like this. Seeing family and friends on Christmas Day, sending love, watching kids open their presents means you can be as close as possible whilst miles away. Try to stay upbeat when you make contact with loved ones on the day. Saying how much you miss them is fine but focus on sharing in their happiness and excitement too. After the Zoom/FaceTime session, aim to switch off. Following every Tweet and post during the day can make you feel more removed than ever.

Keep up the spirit of Christmas but don’t rely on spirits.

Drowning your sorrows with grog is guaranteed to make you feel sadder not happier, so keep an eye on the celebratory drinks. Try to make the on-site festivities a distraction. Organising an activity – something physical or Christmas trivia – will benefit you as much as your workmates.

Finally, remind yourself that you are not alone but in the same boat as all those other essential workers around the world, and Christmas, after all, is only one day.

Keeping the Christmas Cheer ( or how to have a festive FIFO Xmas)

It’s been a long, long year.

COVID threw unexpected challenges at all of us and no one escaped the impact of the pandemic, not least the thousands of FIFO workers who were impacted by changed conditions and border closures.

Now, with Christmas on the horizon and restrictions in Australia easing, there’s more anticipation than ever to shake off the gloom and share the festive season with loved ones and friends. But for some FIFO workers who won’t get the opportunity to reunite with family, this Christmas will be particularly tough. So, it’s worth considering ways to keep the blues at bay despite the distance between you and loved ones.

These simple suggestions might just help.

Make a Date

Before you fly out, lock in a particular day when you intend to celebrate on your next R&R (nobody said you can’t do Christmas twice!). If you have kids, put the date on the fridge and make it a Red-Letter Day – something they can look forward to.

Make it your job to plan the event (deciding what to do will prevent the day being a fizzer). Planning can be a distraction for you while you are on site and a surprise for everyone back home.

Spring some Surprises

If you have a partner or children, maintain the element of Christmas morning surprise by arranging a special gift – even though you’re not there to see the reactions. Maybe consider hiding gifts before you leave and then give clues when you call on Christmas day.

The Christmas Call

Schedule your Zoom or video calls before the day -maybe to coincide with the kids waking up, present opening time or the start of lunch when everyone is gathered. That way your family or friends will be anticipating your call and you’ll feel a connected part of the excitement and festivities.

Tackle the Technology

Find time early in the day to send all your texts to friends and loved ones, then avoid watching the screen for replies.

Remind yourself how crazy a household can be on the 25th. You can feel a little left out if people don’t reply at once and that can add to the isolation blues. So, consider going ‘cold turkey’ (no pun intended!). Switch off your phone and throw yourself into the on-site festivities.

Consider your Co-workers

Remember that you’re not the only one missing family and friends.

Maybe pack a few goodies before you leave home to liven things up for your on-site celebrations. Whether it’s a bag of party poppers, some Santa hats or chocolate reindeer droppings, get enough to share. It might be enough to create some laughter and lift everyone’s spirits on the day.

Forward thinking to Futureproof Mining Careers

Anyone in the investing world has tales to tell of the bear and bull years while mining is synonymous with boom or bust years.

Whilst it is undoubtedly a cyclical industry, this year’s unprecedented events have challenged mining like no other. As a result, there has also been unprecedented activity in reassessing the future direction of the industry. The pandemic has reminded us all of the precarious nature of our lives and the uncertainty of our prospects – as true for the captains of industry as new graduates.

So, as the restrictions ease and the promise of a viable vaccine improves, this is perhaps a good time to consider how those working in the mining industry might futureproof their careers.

Shake hands (or bump elbows)

Online networking is invaluable but, beyond LinkedIn, it’s important to physically network. Whilst COVID has made many of us retreat, we need to take the easing of restrictions as an opportunity to re-connect with people in the industry.

Finding threads of familiarity in conversation lead inevitably to common ground which, in turn, leads to work connections.

Seek out Mentors

Mentors help us to learn about our industry and about ourselves – both equally valuable experiences in sustaining currency in the competitive world of mining.

Currency of ideas

Graduation is not an end point but a beginning. Reading and studying the ideas and findings of experts in the field is a way of maintaining currency within the industry and helps keep critical conversations alive with colleagues.


Diversification is a way of building capability and opportunity for the ambitious. Learning about unrelated topics expands both understanding and the CV. Diversification broadens future opportunities and may just be the point of difference which helps you climb the industry ladder.

Stay Tech-Savvy

Whether this is the discrete technology which applies to your current area of expertise or simply the innovations recruiters are using to screen potential employees, you are wise to keep abreast of new developments.

Keep Connected

Networking through industry related groups, meeting people outside the industry and volunteering provide multi-faceted connections which broaden both the mind and future opportunities.

Maintain the Human Touch

In an industry transformed by the huge impact of technological advancements, the human component of empathy and understanding have yet to be superseded by artificial means. Developing reflective practice as an employee is invaluable – and an impressive sign of someone who is a team player.