The View From Taft

I attended a Lasallian Business Leadership talk as part of our Marketing Management class. The lecture was on “Service Management in the Digital Age,” with the CEO and Founder of ZEN Rooms, Mr. Nathan Boublil. He generously provided insights on how businesses, particularly startups, thrive in a highly competitive industry.

Although the entire discussion leans toward marketing and customer centricity, I unexpectedly learned some human resource management principles as I listened and reflected on how my first encounter with our company made me stay.

I was reminded of my actual job interview at my present company in 2012. The HR professional who first interviewed me was so kind, considerate, and welcoming. It was my first job interview so I really have no idea how it would go. I was so nervous at the time, overthinking the many possible scenarios in my head, but the way she asked the questions and how she responded to my answers spoke more about the company culture than about her. The people in the company were so pleasant and have this positivity that leaves a good impression of the company.

Then immediately after, I was instructed to go to the department floor where I was to be interviewed by my immediate supervisor, but otherwise greeted by senior staff who was asked to interview me on his behalf. I thought the HR lady was kind, but the people in the department were so kind, approachable, and accommodating! They were not only very welcoming and patient with the new hires but also exuded a youthful vibe!

The interview went great, and fast forward to 2019, I am still here and have no plans to leave. Although some have resigned for good, valid reasons, I remain because I am forever grateful for these amazing people who I now consider family.

Striking the balance between self-confidence and self-questioning is difficult, and I agree with what Mr. Boublil said. It was a difficult time for me when I decided to choose my current company as my employer of choice. I was a bit apprehensive at the time since I was a fresh graduate; I was not sure whether I will fit in. Will I make it? Are the people there good? Will we get along? There were too many questions in my head that brought anxiety more than answers.

In the end, I stopped overthinking and focused on what I can contribute to the company. It really helps to have a good grasp of your identity and think of great and mighty things about yourself. And I am glad I did.

Mr. Boublil operates one of the leading hospitality companies in Southeast Asia which require young, competent, and intelligent employees to remain competitive. In this age of digital disruption, firms are competing head-to-head to hire highly skilled workers, understandably to be ahead of the industry.

I believe some companies also prefer employees who “fit” with their culture more than those who radiate with intelligence and experience. A professor of mine opined that companies today put a greater value to the skills and talents of employees (based on her experience and research). While it may be true for some, in my opinion, fit to the organization — especially its culture — is equally relevant and must still be considered when looking for potential “partners” in the organization.

When I joined our company nine years ago as an accountant, I had no excellent credentials to offer, nor substantial experience to brag about. Just thinking about it, I have no idea why they hired or even considered me in the first place! But I guess they saw the good in me, the Christian values I upheld, and my sincerity to the job and for that, I am extremely thankful and humbled they chose me. I am proud of what I do and my contribution to the success of our company.

It truly was my first good impression of the company, most especially the people in it, that I really valued through the years. Without it, I probably would not have stayed this long. Although some things have changed (including new people) due to company transformation, the culture is still the same. The people who have been with me the longest are the same people who share and preserve that culture. I cannot guarantee I will stay forever, but one thing is for sure: I will definitely make my first good impression be somebody else’s first good impression as well. It is time to pay it forward.

This article was part of the requirements of the course, Strategic Human Resource Management.


Ronnel Vergel de Dios is an MBA student of the De La Salle University Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business.