How are GBS leaders thinking about the future of their centers? What are the challenges, aspirations, risks and opportunities now and ahead of them? Which priorities do they need to address swiftly?
About a 100 business and operations leaders, HR professionals, consultants and partners converged for a day-long exchange (Oct 27) at the 2022 ASPIRE Global Business Services (GBS) Leaders Summit held in Krakow, Poland that culminated in many relevant take-aways. As a communications leader that listened in and witnessed first-hand the proceedings, I personally learnt immensely from the discussions and interactions with many participants.
Here are my impressions and perspectives:
- The process maturity of the GBS centers is growing and many are leading the way with demonstrable excellence and ownership. The PwC and ASPIRE Process Tracker (which over 60 companies contributed to) highlighted how a lot more complex work was getting done from Krakow and why the city was consolidating its position as a location leader in Europe for global business services.
- Attrition (hiring challenges, language barriers, talent sourcing etc), retention (upskilling, benefits, work environment etc) and reputation (culture, communication, brand etc) continue to plague GBS firms and the solution isn’t freebies and making offices more attractive. Helping connect staff to the purpose has more impact that other actions. Chasing the wrong metrics isn’t helpful.
- Global Process Ownership from the site is improving and the way forward is to influence business, manage stakeholders better (including getting them to experience the site) and changing HQ mindsets are crucial for success.
- Investing in building strong GBS career paths and having an open mind about finding talent wherever they may be located are essential factors for forward-thinking centers.
- There is a much-needed realization for a healthy balance between business priorities and staff’s expectations. Going to either extremes of the spectrum can impact outcomes and employee experiences.
- ‘Follow the herd’ and ‘wait & watch’ approaches are bound to fail for GBS entities. Taking proactive and measured steps to be agile, manage operations and drive efficiency helps.
- Developing managers is valuable because they in turn can influence how the team functions, engages and feels about the firm. Therefore, investing in skilling is important.
- Clarity and direction help GBSs navigate the chaos and challenges faced. Staff (especially the younger generation) need guidance, mentoring and structure to grow personally and professionally. That can mean investing in face-time more than before.
- The site’s culture is driven by the leader and doing nothing is not an option.
- The relationship between the employer and employee is evolving (newer work contracts etc) and potential changes to work weeks (for example, a 4-day week) will need a shift in mindset, systems and processes within.
Overall, I sensed leaders were eager to gain from each other’s experiences, knowledge and expertise. I loved the camaraderie. The success of the sector hinges on the community pitching in for each other. Also, the leaders’ emphasis on resilience, the focus on people and the role of technology to raise the bar provided hope that the GBS is the future and companies are in it for the long-term.
Missed the event? View the social media posts on Linkedin and Facebook as well as the event photos on Flickr.
Kudos to the ASPIRE, PwC and Verita teams on a well-organized event and engagement on social communication!
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