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  • Irina Ketkin, author of #adventuresofthelearner

My first week at Telenor Bulgaria

The summer is over, to which the low temperatures outside can also testify, and my career break is just as over.

As some of you may know, I recently joined the team of one of the largest telecommunication operators in the world.

Let me tell you about my first week at Telenor.

Day 1

To say that getting to the office building is easy for me, would be an understatement. At the reception I was greeted in the most welcoming manner I have ever encountered. That was clue number 1. I completed the mandatory health and safety seminar and met my future team in HR. I have me t a lot of people in my life, both professionally and personally, but I can say that this is the single most friendly bunch of people ever in existence. Almost immediately I was whisked away by my new line manager for a cup of coffee, which was a very nice and personal touch. And, as they say, there is no rest for the wicked – at lunch time, I attended the opening of the internship programme. The most impressive part of it was the fact that all interns were personally greeted by the CEO, CHRO and CTO… ON THEIR FIRST DAY! Even though the CEO had to run out for urgent business, he still made a point to welcome everyone and give them a few words of encouragement. In the afternoon, I attended a demo session on Service Design with a wonderful bunch made up of various people from all over the business.

As you would imagine, my first day was tiring, to say the least. But the fact the I met C-level executives on my first day, everyone was nice above and beyond in welcoming me to the company and so many people were interested in L&D were huge successes for the day.

Day 2

This is where things got very interesting. I started learning about the structure of the company and the functions of various departments. It is different than what I am used to but this just makes it that much more exciting! I started meeting managers from all over the business and understanding what the company is all about – young and social. Mind you, beside the standard intranet, we have Facebook @ Work – a personalised social media just for the business. To say that this makes you feel like a part of something great, would be yet another understatement!

The day finished in a sushi restaurant with the entire team. For over 2 hours the team members went around discussing their accomplishments and exchanging feedback around their work. WHAT?! I feel like in Disneyland!

Day 3

As I walked in the office in the morning, I was greeted by a tray of healthy sweets. There were also people holding the trays, but I can’t say I noticed them too much. The next thing I notice are these new stickers in the elevators urging people to take the stairs. 5 minutes later I learn there is a new wellbeing initiative where people from the company compete in completing 10 000 steps each day. HOW AWESOME IS THAT?! Several years ago a friend of mine went to work for QUALCOMM and mentioned having a similar initiative. I remember thinking to myself how awesome it would be to have something like that in the company where people can be healthy together and work on their team skills. As they say, be careful what you wish for. Unfortunately, because of technical difficulties, I couldn’t join the actual tournament, but I did take note that for the next few days I did complete over 10 000 steps on my own pedometer.

Day 4

INDUCTION DAY! It’s been a while since I delivered or attended an induction training. But I was quickly reminded how important those are. And how much fun they can be if done properly! My colleague (whom I will be replacing while she enjoys maternity leave) delivered an amazing start to the day filled with lots of games that illustrate the values of the company. The rest of the day tons of people from the business came by to tell the group what they do and how their team interacts with the rest of the group.

Oh, and did I mention the CEO walked in as we were preparing the room and, when he learnt that we were going to have an induction training, said he was going to join us and greet everyone?

Seriously, how awesome is that?!

At the end of the day I met another trainer, this time from the retail part of the business. It was very enlightening to hear how the business train their retail employees and compare it to your personal experiences as a customer. #insidescoop

Day 5

Second day of the induction. I was tasked with doing the energiser and I chose an oldie but goodie – fruit salad. Those of you who have done this with me during a training session, know that it can be one of the most fun things to do at the beginning of your day. We continued with another 10 or so people from the business completing the picture of what Telenor is all about. The most educational part of the 2 days of induction was seeing how each and every person work toward the vision, follows the strategy and truly believes in the values of the company.

At the end of the day, my new team asked me to describe my week and experience suing 3 words – interesting, young and social:

  • Interesting – the business is both young and old, with traditions and a mind-set to break the rules, everything that happens directly affects a large portion of the population in Bulgaria. What could be more interesting that this?

  • Young – the ultimate client is tech-savvy, able to afford a higher-end services and always on the lookout for the next new thing. And who is better suited to give it to him than like-minded people?!

  • Social – in our day and age not having access to social media is equal to not having fire in the stone age (ok, that’s an exaggeration, but you know what I mean). Not only has Telenor added its own social network to the mix, but the CEO constantly talks about how at any time anyone can approach him and discuss anything related to the business. As I already mentioned, people are extremely friendly, approachable and genuinely nice.

Overall, this was a very interesting week to be a part of. The second week will be just as eventful and I can’t wait for it to start!

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