SAP Cloud Platform – Why culture makes THE difference

Often when you read or hear something about the importance of “Culture” for an organization it’s rather theoretical and general. As I had the pleasure to visit a couple of SAP Cloud Platform (SAP CP) teams in several Asian countries recently together with our Unit Head Gunther Rothermel and one of his direct report Sanjeet Mall (Head of SAP CP Digital Workplace) we became aware of very concrete examples what positive impact a healthy and positive organizational culture has. I’m happy to share our observations with you.  

Let me start with maybe the most important one:“Leadership”. If you have people managers in your organization who take care of their team members regarding:

  • their individual growth,
  •  regular communication,
  • create a nice working environment for the team,
  • assign interesting/demanding tasks
  • and are perceived as a trusted leader  

this makes a huge different on the engagement and the spirit of the teams. We have (Senior) Leaders in our locations who were able to consider all the bullets mention above and to create a working environment that feels close to “friendship” for their team members. Based on this strong foundation also in tough times be it due to delivery pressure or organizational or strategy changes these teams are stable and confident. The work of our local people managers is highly valued by their teams and we will continue to ensure that our leaders get all the support they need to continue with their crucial work.

As commonly known in many countries the external market these days is pretty hot and competitors are willing to spend an awful amount of money for strategic hires. We learned that in our unit our leaders are able to create a strong feeling of belonging within their teams. The outcome of this is that the value of a salary increase is assessed by many colleagues lower in comparison to the overall support they receive from their managers – so our people focused culture and the great job our leaders are doing is helping us to reduce attrition.

Another thing we were told in different locations is that “Respect for people” is not only a marketing phrase in our unit and that we have the situation that after colleagues left externally many approached us to come back or already returned as they experienced that with their new employers the working atmosphere, their tasks and also how they are treated is different than with SAP CP.

Furthermore, our focus on “Diversity and Inclusion” is appreciated by our colleagues. It sounds natural, but our efforts to e.g. offer positions for physically challenged colleagues is not a matter of course in every country already and it was stated to me that SAP helps to positively influence the local society which is great of course. We also learned that our SAP CP DWP colleagues are supporting in their spare time community projects and e.g. help guiding children in Beijing through the forbidden city so that the children can also embrace this great place of history.

Regarding Diversity it’s not only the gender mixture we are considering although we made excellent experience by increasing the number of female leaders in our unit within the last years, but we also focus e.g. on the age distribution in our teams. It’s amazing to see how beneficial the collaboration among colleagues from different generations is and that the team outcome is increasing. We will definitely continue to ensure that we have a heterogeneous teams who bring different strengths to the table.

And what we also will support even more based on the feedback we received is the request by the teams to cooperate more with SAP CP teams and beyond – it was great to see that there is a strong interest to engage with other, share knowledge and team-up – silo thinking is definitely not something we need to take care of.

Finally, what we recognized during our visits can be captured under the term “Communication”. It was very positive that in all locations colleagues were willing to participate actively in all-hands, 1-1s or meetings. In our CP unit colleagues are willing to share their thoughts and help us to understand where we are already in a good shape and what can be improved. This may sound also be a given, but it’s definitely not and is for us an important indicator that our culture is working as we rely on the openness and the trust of our colleagues that their feedback either positive or negative is welcome.

We were told e.g. that our communication efforts are not always valuable, E-Mails are too long or impact on people not clear, so this is something we will look into…

Considering all the content shared above our impression how SAP Cloud Platform colleagues feel in Asia was very encouraging. The culture represented by Leadership, Trust, Diversity & Inclusion, Communication is amazing and so is their eagerness to learn or to connect and collaborate closer with our teams in Europe or the US.

Of course, we also have items we can improve and we took many ideas with us what can be done in a better way, but as said, we see our findings as a proof point that we have a culture who helps us to become even better…

A big thank you from our side to the teams in Bangalore, Singapore, Shanghai and Beijing who welcome us to nicely – please continue to live our SAP CP culture as you do.

#HRPunks #lifeatSAP