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Author's profile photo Naomi Thalenberg

What I’ve Learned as a New Hire on SAP’s Employer Brand Team

gFor the past few months I was a job seeker, meeting with recruiters and attending networking events in search of the right fit.

Now, four weeks into my onboarding at SAP, I’ve found myself on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. I now work among some of the world’s most brilliant recruiters, talent acquisition and sourcing specialists, and of course, employer brand experts.

In my third of week immersing myself into my new role as brand manager for SAP’s Internship Experience Program (SAP iXp), I had the opportunity to join the global employer branding team in New York City for an all-hands team offsite.

The itinerary included an eight-hour design thinking workshop, a visit with SAP’s global branding team in their new offices on Hudson Yards, and meetings with our partners at Google, Twitter and The Onion Labs. We also had a fun day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where we participated in a “museum hack” activity for team bonding.

Little did I know coming into SAP that I’d enter a world far more caring and invigorating than I’d ever perceived.

SAP Employer Brand Team meets SAP’s “The Spin” host Megan Meany.

Here are a few of my key takeaways from the trip:

We Learn Best From Each Other

During our design thinking workshop, our goal was to tackle a challenge. The challenge: How to drive radical impact with branding and sourcing?

There is never a perfect method or system. Enter: Hours of brainstorming, sketching, and collating themes around ideas and solutions on Post-It Notes.

We reminded ourselves that candidates are not always familiar with SAP’s breadth of opportunities. We thought of personas, which are fictional people marketers create to better identify with their audience.

Our goal is to step inside our audiences’ shoes and follow their journey across the career site step-by-step to identify where we can better enhance their experience.

Post-It Notes map out each phase of the candidate journey during a design thinking workshop.

From this exercise, we come up with solutions and “big wishes” for the coming fiscal year. But most of all, this is an opportunity to learn from one another.

As a new hire at SAP, I realize the learning curve is big. But my new colleagues have reminded me that this learning curve never completely flattens. We’re perpetually seeking self- improvement, challenging what we know, and gathering insights from one another. That’s where we’re strongest: Together.

You’re Never Too Good to Care

There are many adjectives I could use to describe SAP’s employer branding team. Passionate, multifaceted, persistent and determined are a few that come to mind. Most importantly though, they care.

I think that’s one aspect of our industry that outsiders tend to forget about. Behind every recruiter there’s a team working hard to ensure that job candidates feel cared for from the time they hear about an opportunity to their first day at work.

For every touch point a new candidate experiences with SAP, whether that’s a video about workplace culture or a positive review on Glassdoor, there is a person working behind the scenes to ensure SAP’s message and mission are clearly understood.

From my meetings with the candidate sourcing team and the creative masterminds behind Life at SAP’s social media platforms and career site, I found that every individual truly cares about what they do.

During our museum hack activity, we were told to take a photo of an object or a piece of art that represents the perfect SAP candidate. At the end of our tour, we each shared why our person is the best fit.

My candidate was a headless statue, representing an open-minded approach that doesn’t label or generalize people. Our recruiters aren’t seeking candidates who attended top universities, but rather, people who’ve worked hard to get to where they’re at and have proven themselves as great performers. I’m also a sucker for humor, so I said “this person is a hard worker who executes.” Pun intended.

A team bonding exercise at the Metropolitan Museum of Art challenged us to think of our perfect candidate.

SAP might be the third largest software company in the world, but we continue to operate from our inner passions and desire to help our customers and job seekers better their lives.

When it comes to the employer branding team, we’re never too good to empathize with a newcomer and welcome them in. Take it from me, I’m a new hire.


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      Author's profile photo Robin Dagostino
      Robin Dagostino

      What a nice post. We are thrilled to have you on the team. And excited to collaborate with you in the future.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      SAP is very lucky to have you join us Naomi.  Love your passion, drive, inquiring mind.  It will stand you well for a great career.

      You are right that we never stop learning.  I am getting old but embrace learning new things every day just as I did when I was a graduate, (many many years ago).  SAP loves great ideas.  That requires minds that are open to being challenged and coming up with new solutions.  A new, great idea can come from anyone, from anywhere, of any age or background and love that we work on a team that embraces all and any ideas.  We just want to win together and support each other to be the best we can be.

      Thanks for being you and look forward to you making a huge difference to SAP & iXp branding.  #GoWin

      Author's profile photo Adam Michael Raelson
      Adam Michael Raelson

      Such a great post, Naomi! The team offsite was a lot of fun and we are so happy that you were able to come and are now part of our team! Keep up the blogging!