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5 Approaches to Contribute to the Global Business Services Ecosystem

If Global Business Services (GBS) leaders are to make an impact and be instrumental in attracting prospective staff to their organizations and teams, they have a responsibility to step up and be counted. The GBS organizations have evolved from Shared Services and Business Process Outsourcing which helped businesses gain efficiencies and value. Over the years, tapping into the power of technology, GBS organizations have become crucial for the success of their parent firms. The GBS ecosystem thrives on the strength of its professionals – agile, reliable, and responsive. 

Why contributing to the community matters 

While GBS grows as a sector and employs millions of employees around the globe, they also face challenges like most other industries to attract, engage and retain talent. As most GBS firms compete for the same pool of talent, local branding and reputation efforts become more important than ever. 

 Talent doesn’t always care about compensation and benefits – they value the stability of the organizations and the depth of their leadership teams, knowing fully well that what matters is – whom you work with and how much you can learn and develop your capabilities. A McKinsey study also indicates that there is a significant gap between what employers think staff wants vs what staff expects from employers. Employers believe staff wants great pay, benefits, and emphasis on well-being. On the other hand, the staff wants to be valued by their managers and organization as well as to have a sense of belonging. Now that contrast sums up why there is so much tension and misalignment within. 

This is where GBS managers and leaders can step up. They need to be the sharing, presenting, curating, and driving thought leadership in their respective domains and for the overall sector and be role models such that current staff appreciates their worth; prospective employees can witness the impact and peers gain knowledge and insights. The collective ability to raise the standards and grow each other is what will make the sector stronger. There are already negative perceptions that the sector faces – from the tags of ‘outsourcers’ and cheap labor – to the role in eliminating jobs and reducing the need for external interventions. It is becoming increasingly harder for GBS entities to justify their existence and manage their resources, time, and effort effectively. 

Seek opportunities at various levels 

The opportunities to boundary-span, create assets, provide context, and enhance knowledge among the community are there for the taking. But who’s really doing much about it? Many managers and leaders seem comfortable in ‘doing’ their jobs. Others look to the herd or piggyback on initiatives underway instead of putting thought into it and investing their own energy, time, and effort to further the sector’s development. 

Here are a few approaches and levels at which GBS managers and leaders can consider rising to the occasion. If you haven’t yet begun, you can do it in phases – starting with yourself and then adding more depth to the engagement as you gain confidence.  

  1. Individual: As a professional, we experience different yet unique situations that may sound like ‘regular’ and ‘run of the mill’ moments. Yet, these scenarios are what fuels insights and newer perspectives for others. People crave to know how to manage initiatives, how to navigate the workplace, and what challenges and solutions professionals come up with to progress each day. There is a lot a GBS manager or leader can do to bring these situations to the fore. 
  • What stops a manager or a professional from discussing (without sharing confidential and proprietary information) newer ways of conducting work or overcoming the challenges of performance management? 

2. Team: With remote/hybrid ways of working and transforming organizational and team dynamics, there is a lot of experience GBS professionals are gaining each day that can be relevant to the broader community. Harnessing this knowledge is essential for GBS organizations to thrive.  

  • What prevents team leaders from converging on a call to discuss the current trends and brainstorm common solutions? 

3. Peer: There is greater trust among peers and forums to surface niggling issues that can be safe places to connect. However, it does need courage, leadership, and ownership to come together and be transparent.  Read this article on establishing thought leadership.

  • How hard is it to list a set of relevant topics, bring it to the attention of your peers and spearhead a conversation? Or, review a recent industry report and highlight the key messages for the benefit of peers? 

4. Organizational: In a world that focuses on ‘coopetition’ (cooperation between rival companies), there is an increased need for managers and leaders who can multi-task, straddle organizational boundaries and build relationships. A recent study on ambidextrous management by the NEOMA Business School in France reinforces this point. 

  • How about solving the biggest and most pressing concern for organizations by bringing the best of minds on a common industry platform?  

5. Sector: Most sectors mature as they evolve and grow in confidence – GBS is no different. There are numerous opportunities to identify best practices or contribute to them as the sector strives to make a difference – locally and globally. If you are engaged in a market, you have greater leverage in localizing context, making the city or district renowned as a destination of choice for the sector. Proactively engaging the city council, government bodies, and event forums can help raise the profile of the sector. 

  • Is there a way to fine-tune the sector’s offering and outlook with investors, agencies, and vendors who want to make an impact? 

It begins with you 

How does one put these into action? Look around you and there are numerous opportunities to begin right away.  

  • Reflect on areas where you can confidently share knowledge and thought leadership.  
  • Start on your own Linkedin page and tag the relevant forums and leaders or peers who may be interested. Look up this article on establishing your social media presence.
  • Discuss with your peers and leaders to identify ways to contribute beyond your everyday deliverables 
  • Identify a business association in your city that caters to the Global Business Services community and connect to discover opportunities 
  • Join a sub-sector and offer to run a webinar or a podcast or write an article on a topic of interest 
  • Find a channel like a newsletter or social media platform run by an industry association or forum in your city and how you can pitch in an as expert commentator 

Mindful engagement  

Some organizations have restrictive policies about staff engaging on external forums. Therefore, it helps to understand the guidelines and engage with the legal and communication teams to get the appropriate sign-offs before contributing. There are workarounds as well – by using disclaimers that clearly call out that the views expressed are personal and that your external messages are not related to your employer. 

Overall, contributing to the broader GBS ecosystem is an individual responsibility and the positive rub-offs benefit the organization and staff alike. 

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Interested in similar content? Look up my blog and website

Keen to get advice on communication? Look it up here:

Interested to read other articles on Global Business Services/Shared Services/Global Capability Centers’ communication? Look them up on the Shared Services & Outsourcing Network website where I am a contributing author. 

  1. Are GBS Organizations Differentiating Their Brands Locally?
  2. Roadmapping Global Capability Centers’ Communication Priorities and Progression  
  3. Communications as a COE for Shared Services Success: Charting a New Direction 
  4. Communications as a COE for Shared Services Success: Building The Strategy 
  5. Communications as a Center of Excellence for Shared Services Success 
  6. Crafting a Consistent Global Business Services Social Media Strategy 
  7. 5 Communication Approaches for Successful Knowledge Transitions 
  8. Designing a Consistent Business Problem-Solving Forum in Global Capability Centers 
  9. Starting Your Global Shared Services Center? Give Communications its Due 
  10. Building an Inclusive Shared Services Leader’s Communication Plan 
  11. Tapping the Power of Ideas in Shared Services Centers 
  12. Six P’s that Differentiate your Global Center 
  13. 4 Shared Services Communication Strategies Guaranteed to Work 

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