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This month, I started an exciting new venture at SAP, a fellowship for the Talent Marketing team under my mentor, Carmen O’Shea’s leadership, focused on attracting, engaging and retaining talented employees.

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A fellowship is one of SAP’s greatest benefits and one of the perks that got me excited about working at SAP in the first place. It is sort of like an exchange student program, where you can work in a different team, on initiatives that could be completely unrelated to your current job. I am really excited to apply my marketing and communications expertise to better engage and develop our employees during the next six months and what more exciting way to kick things off with a heart to heart session with the North America SAP Graduate Academy.

This 10 month, cross-functional rotational training program is a combination of Undergraduates, Masters and MBAs who aim to create a DNA Shift in our organization with positive top and bottom line results by bringing in new skills and competencies to drive innovation. Since its inception in 2011, The Graduate Academy has hired nearly 100 early talents into the business and maintains a 96% retention rate. The program is comprised of four individually-tailored job rotations within Sales Support, Operations, Services, and other professional organizations. Interspersed within the job rotations are classroom-based and online learning as well as strategic projects. From week one, Associates are paired with seasoned mentors, former Associates, and coaches to support their ongoing professional development.

It is no secret that Millennials will comprise the majority of our workforce in 10 years, so recruiting and retaining Generation Y employees is key to our success.

We brought Associates from 5 major North America SAP offices: Atlanta, Chicago, Newtown Square, Palo Alto, and Boston together in a creative session where we applied design thinking methodology in discovering their pain points and generated ideas for making SAP the ideal work place.

I have summarized our key leanings from our session in four key segments and invite you to watch the video and see more photos of this session here to learn what the graduates had to say about each. I feel that these insights apply to any company and not just SAP.

Recruiting: Millennials expect new innovative ways of engaging with potential employers and recruiters. They expect companies to dedicate appropriate Marketing dollars to showcase the novelty behind their products and services. Many expressed that an essential part of recruitment should be focused on showcasing why the specific roles would be appreciated, what kind of opportunities the candidates would have to give back to the community, and how they can be leveraged in SAP’s efforts make the world a better place.

Seamless onboarding: The Millennial value relationships, they want to know their recruiter will care to follow up with them and ensure they have a positive experience once hired and all the way throughout their career. Many of the Graduates expressed the current process at SAP leaves much to be desired for: often there is a disconnect between the recruiting team and onboarding teams, the communication flow to the candidates is not fluid and lacks consistency.

Engagement: Many of our graduates expressed the need to see more interaction from Sr. Management. They feel that SAP would benefit from regular networking opportunities in a more casual setting, and many asked for these opportunities to include alcohol and snacks.

Career Development: The Graduates put much focus on their desire to receive mentorship, growth opportunities, and transparency in receiving feedback from their managers and peers. Many expressed how they would put global citizenship above professional recognition, but everyone expressed how they would want to work on impactful projects, and would like SAP to provide them a clear path for their career growth.

Take the quiz and let me know how millennial you are: How Millennial Are You? | Pew Research Center

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3 Comments

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  1. Deepa Iyer

    Hi Layla,

    Great blog! Thanks for sharing.

    A few of us from the Services Innovation & Design Thinking CoE team are working on some Research activities about SAP & Gen Y. Would be great to connect with you and learn more about your experiences working with Millennials!

    Regards,

    Deepa

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    1. Layla Sabourian Post author

      Hi Deepa:

      I am glad you liked the blog, I will send your comment to one of my colleagues who is focused on Millennial topics.

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  2. Chiara Bersano

    VERY nice blog, Layla, and worthwhile task.

    SAP has been traditionally groundbreaking in offering opportunities to young people as well as students; i know your skills will make the program shine.

    The Millennials is such a great generation, sometimes wise beyond their years, and sometimes painfully naive. In the end, they’re young, full of ideas, and their place naturally fit in innovation.

    i Would love to see a serie of blogs, featuring different fellows at different moments of the programs, with the wins and the challenges they are facing.

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