A couple months ago I wrote about two colleagues, Simon Avinash and Vasilios Nicolaides, who are Talent Acquisition Managers based in India and Germany respectively. They were about to embark on a very exciting job swap, which involved swapping not just responsibilities and teams, but locations also.
I caught up with them towards the end of the swap to find out how it had gone.
Vasili: Time has gone by extremely fast. When we were talking about 3 months, the time-period seemed like a long time, but looking back, time passed without really realizing it! Given all the topics we are working on the swap is going very well.
Simon: The experience has been incredible and has helped me both professionally and personally. I had to opportunity to network with many colleagues and now have a face to the name
So, has the swap been everything you expected it to be?
Simon: The swap is beyond what I expected. As much as I got to work at our German HQ and interact with colleagues in person, I also got to look at my region (Asia Pacific) from a distance and this helped me look at things differently. The swap actually exceeded my expectations. I had the opportunity to be part of the HR Leadership Team offsite which was an amazing experience.
Vasili: It has definitely been everything I wanted! It helped me to get a different perspective on the way colleagues are working in APJ and to also better understand the candidates who are applying with us in Europe. I also got to know better the colleagues I have been interacting with for so many years. Also, it was very interesting to see first-hand why having global processes is absolutely necessary and important.
So, if you were given the opportunity again, what would you do differently?
Vasili: I would plan a longer period of time and make a very concrete planning of what I want to understand and learn during my stay and what I want to visit, which events, which offices. One point I really underestimated was the distances here in India. Basically, to go to the different events we are conducting you have to get on a plane and travel for several hours and then in some cases also travel for several hours by bus on top of that. So, I would plan the time accordingly.
Simon: I agree. I would plan for a longer stint than this time and reach out to colleagues before I show up here to get their time. I would plan to shadow a few colleagues from other teams (within HR) as this will also help me get a better understanding on how the other functions work.
What have been the most challenging aspects of the swap?
Simon: Coming from APJ I am used to huge numbers of candidates to jobs. For example, in India we would invite about 200+ candidates for a recruiting event but it is exactly the opposite in EMEA and it took me sometime to accept this fact. Apart from this there was no major challenge for me as the team here is awesome and was very helpful.
Vasili: There were really no challenges for me. Not even the language was a topic, as all our colleagues speak English. It was a bit more difficult in China when I got outside of the office as there most people communicated only in Chinese. Apart from that, in the beginning I had to get used to the traffic in Bangalore. That was really a challenge!!
What has been your favorite new discovery during this swap?
Simon: I have discovered a lot – new places, food (of course beer included), different cultures and so on. But my favorite discovery has been “learning is immense when you are out of your comfort zone”. On a lighter note I discovered that I can cook, and it’s also edible!
Vasili: I discovered great restaurants, amazing nature, great temples and very friendly, welcoming and helpful colleagues. In general, the people of India were very welcoming.
And now the swap is coming to an end, what have you missed from home that you are looking forward to returning to?
Simon: Obviously I missed my family and my team, and my dog. But one thing I really missed is the ‘noise’. It took a long time to get used to the quiet of Germany, and now the reverse is about to be true!
Vasili: I missed my family, my team and driving on a German highway. Did I mention traffic in Bangalore is a challenge?
Thank you to both Simon and Vasili for sharing their experiences. If you are looking for an opportunity that allows you to discover new cultures and ways of working, visit jobs.sap.com to see where we are hiring!