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Having a talk with Stefan Ries

SAP India announced that it will be adding 1,000 more employees yearly. In the ear where jobs are being slashed every day, the company’s this decision has stunned everyone. Let us have a look as to what Stefan Ries, chief human resources officer of the company, has to say about this.

What is the significance of SAP Labs India in context of the company’s global operations?

SAP Labs India is our largest R&D centre outside our headquarters in Germany, and our India footprint is steadily growing, adding 800-1,000 people to the overall headcount annually.

The India centre is gaining in strategic importance for us: the Fashion Management solution, which is used by Armani and Gucci, has been built entirely out of here.

The team that runs our global cloud infrastructure business is also based out of Bengaluru. We recently inaugurated the new addition to our Whitefield campus — the Gerhard Oswald Innovation Space — built with an investment of 50 million. We will continue to make strong investments in our India centre.

What changes are you making in performance management?

Last year, we piloted ‘SAP Talk’ to over 8,500 early adopters globally, out of which 1,000 were in India, with the objective of moving away from one-time ratings and fostering a more regular dialogue between employees and managers.

Employees at the centre had real-time conversations with their managers to discuss how they could grow their careers and achieve success, and managers were able to improve overall team performance.

We started the program as a prototype of what performance management should look like; this year, we are rolling it out to all employees globally.

How do employees get access to instant learning opportunities?

A few years back, feedback came to us that our learning and development process had many gaps, despite us investing about 80 million in this segment. We took a step back to think how we could improve this experience for employees, and recently rolled out SAP Success Factor.

Under this program, learning is a one-stop digital experience with 1.3 million opportunities available in the system, and employees can register their learning need and find solutions.

What investments are you making in learning and development this year?

We are investing 160 million in learning this year.

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