Managing Global SAP Teams

400_dreamstime_10053595In global organisations today it is not unusual to find large SAP teams working across different time zones, cultures and languages, and these types of working environments are growing. As projects develop within the organisation; internally and externally, there is a need to be able collaborate these global teams and streamline the working environment so the teams are working as one and not as separate entities.

Although global teams offer many benefits, they can also pose a number of challenges such as:

  • How you develop effective global leaders
  • Keeping remote employees engaged and informed
  • Managing successful recruitment
  • Retention of global teams
  • Monitoring distance employees
  • Developing a global voice which all the company understand.

Global teams are valuable to businesses; because of the social and cultural fit for working business environments which has an impact how business growth and sustainability. Without local knowledge and resource it can be very difficult to work with customers who have a local need.

Building successful global teams usually requires the support of the CEO and other executives. Invenio Solutions run SAP Global teams in many countries across the world, for internal purposes but also for their international clients. There are 5 elements which Invenio Solutions use to manage and develop their global teams thus, enhancing their servicing of global clients in the most effective way. We will discuss each one individually:

1. Employ trusted, local, global team heads

Like every business, Invenio strive to employ the best people at any level in our organisation, we use our in-house built techniques and qualifications to really delve into a person’s employee history and personality. This is especially important when recruiting global team heads. Invenio employ local employee team heads so they understand the cultural environments and for ease of employee engagements, there are a lot of different elements when meeting east with west so the team leaders should also have knowledge of the international business landscape.
Each global team head we employ has to make sure the relationship between his or hers team and the organisation works simultaneously and this should be portrayed when dealing with global clients. It is the job of the global team head to develop strong relationships with other international team leaders and push the true voice of the company.
Action points:

  1. Draw up a Global Team Head persona for an ideal candidate, this should be matched within the job description and interview questions should form around the requirements
  2. The team head of local departments should have frequent calls scheduled into their diaries to discuss company activity and relay this back to their teams

2. For new employees, have a structured introduction process which is consistent across the globe

It is important to really introduce new employees to your company so they don’t feel out on their own or unsure of what the company really stands for. Invenio have a global hand book which is adapted to the language of the local office. We also have a structured internal system to bring on new employees. We suggest that employees travel and work from our different locations at some point in their first year to really understand how other team operate however, this is not compulsory.
Action Points:

  1. Create a “Welcome Pack” for your new employees, include information about the business, its history, growth plans, senior staff members, locations etc.
  2. Put new employees in touch with each other so they can share helpful advice and collaborate between themselves
  3. Think about creating an internal social platform or intranet to hold company standardised documents and information

3. Create trust and collaborate, keep employees up to date and part of the organisations “family”

When teams are spread around a vast area it is very important to feel that you can trust every single team member and rely on them to represent the organisation in the most appropriate manner.
Teams should be kept up to date with regular group emails and messages to make sure everyone is aware of the goings-on within the organisations. As a company which is only 7 years old, Invenio have grown extremely quickly ad have found that the importance of keeping employees informed has a huge impact on operations.
Action Points:

  1. Try creating a quarterly internal news bulletin to keep everyone informed and up-to-date
  2. Make sure you have a group email address account set up for when emailing ALL employees and add new started when they join
  3. Make sure all of your team understand your brand and how your company wants to be viewed from an external point

4. Have regular virtual team meetings and introduce team building incentives

Invenio run monthly international team meetings where we are able to share news, updates, ideas and a few jokes to keep the teams involved and talking. We introduce new starters and any new client updates. We run a yearly team building days where we encourage our international employees to attend.
Action Points:

  1. Schedule in some virtual group meetings where you can introduce new employees, clients, ideas etc.
  2. Have regular team building events locally and if possibly globally

5. Have a structured monitoring system for all employees across the global teams

It is very important that you are able to monitor and record your employees individually and as a team, it is vital that CEO’s and/or other executives keep themselves involved with employee performance and manage those correctly who continue to fail. This type of task involves a lot of collaboration between team heads and the executives, they need to continually be aware of the goings-on, on the ground work force level.
Action Points:

  1. Have regular virtual meeting with executives and team heads
  2. Create a global employee review system so discussions and viewpoints remain consistent

It is very evident that there are many challenges with building and managing effective global teams, but in fact, they are becoming more prominent and vital in organisations today. Global team management and development requires a lot of commitment from your CEO, Global Team Heads but also all other team members.

Invenio Solutions feel that they execute SAP Global team management successfully for their internal teams and for their customers, it is not easy and takes time and perseverance but once you have a good, robust system in place the rewards can be remarkable.

If you would like to know more about managing global SAP teams please contact us.