Value creation enabled by people and innovation
As CEO of SG EBS since July 2018, you took over the Group’s development strategy of the company on the Romanian market. Please share with us some of your conclusions, after almost one year of mandate, and plans regarding the future development of the company’s services.
Even if it’s not such a long period since I have joined, the first impression about Romania is related to its dynamism (for both people and market) and the most important things that this country has to offer are the talent pool expertise in different industries and the variety of languages spoken. Even if there are recruitment challenges due to the very competitive market, mainly on IT sector, our company is focusing on growing in the next year. By having different approaches, we can maintain the balance on the activities we offer now (IT, HR, Finance and KYC), but we can also start developing new types of activities (some of them are new in the market within the Business Services industries).
You hold a strong expertise on markets in Europe, Asia and South Africa, very diverse from a cultural point of view. How difficult is to adjust the business development strategy to such diverse markets and which are the challenges in Romania?
Each country has its specificities. My previous challenges in other roles might have been different, but one thing remains the same: how we position ourselves towards the market. Romania still has huge potential and I’m sure that the private sector can work together to mitigate these challenges. One of the most challenging part is the availability of the talent pool. The key for success here is not to expect the public sector to find all the solutions to mitigate the balance between the offer and the demand, but for the private sector to invest in the upskilling of the existing talent pool, to contribute on developing academies, to search not only for higher level expertise, but also for juniors. It’s important to upskill the existing staff, but also to onboard and to invest in training for the entry level profiles. This type of approach could be the factor that will ensure sustainability in your company’s growth, to be able to face the demand on the new type of jobs. This would be the strategy that we will be focusing on the next period. (This type of approach could be the factor that will ensure sustainability in your company’s growth, which could translate into a higher ability to face the demand of the new jobs.)
Let us know you from the perspective of your personal brand, as leading manager. What are your triggers (motivations and drivers) and stoppers as well (what demotivates challenges you) in your profession?
During my journey I have been able to pass through different stages of an organization and the most fascinating motivators relate to the continuous change; even if it’s cliché, the motto “the change never changes “applies on a daily basis to my role, which sometimes can become really challenging but, at the same time, it offers us all the unique opportunity of uninterrupted learning experience(s) in all domains. Along with it, the development of the company is always motivating, taking into account the market dynamics. We are continuously working to find new solutions, to ensure we have a sustainable growth and expansion that are enabled by the key drivers: positive population, innovation mindset and environment.
As stoppers, in my perception, the major one is the silos effect within and outside the company and the difficulty in building a transversal approach. This can create different delays and slow progress on the transformation itself, along with the relative inertia of big companies that creates long decision cycles, transparency and lack of agility.
Which business services trends will prove to be the biggest game-changers in Europe, respectively Romania, within a global perspective?
Global mindset in the GBS organization is driven by generating value for the business and to on shore organizations. From a functions centric organization, to a process focus one, now we are moving to the next level we value centric mindset. Furthermore, we are starting to sell our services externally, as hybrid models.
What makes an innovation – a functional and useful innovation in your company? Please name several innovative projects and CSR projects developed at SG EBS in the past year.
Digitization is a powerful lever to enhance services and with this new digital technologies, there is room for cutting-edge innovation in operating models. A very successful example that we have implemented by combining cognitive approach/OCR and machine learning is the new division Know Your Customer (KYC).
As for CSR, we have 3 main directions of focus: Citizenship, Sustainability and Diversity & Inclusion. For each of them we try to find the most suitable mix of allocated resources, in terms of time & investment. One example that I can give, as for SG EBS’ involvement in this area is BI Elias project.
The uniqueness of this initiative comes from being the first project that aims to help the management of Elias Hospital to improve the entire workflow for the benefit of all patients and hospital’s staff, not just to simply construction of a new ward. At hospital level, the implementation of this project can be translated in major improvements regarding the time spent by the patient in the hospital, hospital budget and the management of intra hospital infections. Our colleagues from SG EBS dedicated a lot of their time & expertise to help the project and move forward with this initiative.
Worldwide, finding the right talent and skilled force for the companies delivering outsourcing business services has started to become a challenge. How are the things in Romania from this respect and what is SG EBS’ employment strategy for Romania? How does it differ from other regions in the world?
Romania is known at global level among the best places for outsourcing industry – both from a cost and education perspective (most of the young generations speak fluently at least one foreign language and at least half of them speak 2 foreign languages). Currently, the outsourcing industry is known as one of the major employers when compared to other industries and all tier 1 & 2 have a lot of multinational companies with strong operations. With a strong emigration and low natality rate, operating in Romania is becoming a real challenge for our industry. Under all these conditions, with a huge pressure on the talent pool, recruiting and retention are key processes for every organization. To secure the growth of the company, which has developed continuously during the past 2 years, SG EBS invested a lot in: recruitment tools (making it more easy for recruiters), employer branding (making the company more visible), learning and development (insuring the continuous development of staff), retention (by diversifying the benefits, implementing leadership programs). A key success factor for us is staying in close contact with universities, with all students association and a good level of understating of new generation interests and values.
All this has made SG EBS a player that is appealing for the candidates and being on top of the candidates’ mind is a must today and, as a major recognition, we have won the prizes “Best employer of the year 2019”, within the Business Services Forum 2019, Outsourcing-Today. We also had the possibility to learn from our foreign colleagues who, in the past, were in the same situation as us. Other markets, where Societe Generale is present with service centers, are today much more mature and have passed the momentum of strong competition.
What would you like to see more applied or created in the business services industry in Romania? Which are the hopes and the red flags on the local economy for this industry?
The Business Services industry developed a lot in the last years and being sustained by different organizations creating collaborative approach between us. Together, we have succeeded to put Romania in the top suitable locations for this industry across CEE, or even globally. Still, there are areas where we would need to go a level beyond by converting the mindset from the simple “cost arbitrage nearshoring country” to the next level, to gain visibility and credibility through innovation, by leveraging key talent pools, creating an ecosystem of startup & schools. On the other hand, in order to be able to sustain it on a long term, we would need to come back to a more political stability and credibility, in order to lower the negative perception.
Please share with us some of your hopes and expectation for 2020 in terms of outsourcing business services development in Romania.
Firstly to be as exciting and challenging as 2018 and 2019 and to continue to create more value for our partners in Societe Generale by delivering excellence, bring new ideas, be the partner of choice, to transform our Group using the local talent pool and ecosystem of startups.
News about SG EBS:
On 6th of June, SG EBS experienced an amazing celebration with the occasion of reaching 2000 employees, after 8 years of activity.
” This is not just a number, this is the result of a continuous development, commitment and innovation brought by each employee. SG EBS counts 2000 people, it was founded in 2011 to be the shared service center for Societe Generale Group and delivers high added value services in various fields of activity (HR, Finance, IT & Know your Customer) serving all major business lines of SG Group in over 35 countries.
“Now we are 2000 people sharing the same values, ambition and reaching for the same goal! SG EBS has grown continuously over the last years, working hard, developing its abilities and extending its expertise. I would like to say that I am proud to be part of this team and I hope that our achievements will continue to grow and bring value.” Matthieu Pasquier, CEO SG EBS.
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