The crucial ‘first week’

For some of us, the first working week at a new company may seem a long time ago, while for others like me, it happened only recently. As many people will know, this initial period can be one of the most memorable and stressful periods in anyone’s working life.

After all, it could essentially set the tone for the rest of a person’s career within an organisation. While some find the new faces and environment intimidating, others prepare themselves in the manner of a seasoned salesman and are ready to impress.

Brand ambassadors

As a HR representative, I am aware of the importance and value of ‘onboarding’. However, many companies still underestimate the impact this has on new employees, as well as their business.

Having joined a new company, friends, family members and ex-colleagues have reached out to ask me about my initial impressions. This is the so-called ‘golden hour’ when a new employee has the potential to become a company’s brand ambassador.

As an example, here is a recent conversation I had with one of my friends:

Friend: How was your first week?

Me: Great! My laptop and all the relevant necessities were already on my desk when I arrived. The company even provided me with a smaller-sized laptop that is convenient to travel with.

Friend: Wow, that is very accommodating of them.

Me: They also offer a series of cool online courses that are accessible by all employees. The introduction course was perfect for new starters. In it, they discussed everything that a new employee should know – about the company, how to use the HR Information System, laptop tools and apps, and how to set up a meeting using Skype. It’s a highly automated company and I admire that.

Friend: What about your new colleagues?

Me: They have arranged for me to meet various stakeholders so that I have a holistic view of the business. I have met most of them and they are helpful, friendly and willing to share. When they talk about their individual roles and the company itself, I can hear their passion. Their leaders are also forward-thinking, strategic and open.

Friend: Sounds like you’ve hit the jackpot! I can feel your excitement for the company.

Allowing people to thrive

I am not however, writing this blog as an Employer Branding Specialist for Vanderlande – although, suffice to say, it is one of the most pleasant experiences I have ever had during an onboarding.

My point is that I believe a structured onboarding programme acts as a foundation for a new employee to thrive in their role within an organisation. By way of illustration, I have created a table that differentiates the onboarding experiences I have had in my career.

As you can see, the experience can differ greatly from company to company. Ultimately, an effective onboarding programme encourages employee engagement, increases the confidence of a new starter and helps them to adapt more rapidly. This in turn increases productivity and employee retention, and improves employer branding.


Venicer Chia
Talent Engagement Specialist, Human Resources SG/APAC