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How does a growing team of young, dynamic, inclusive and inspiring members ensure that our Bayer offices across the globe are well-equipped with the finance and accounts support they need for managing raw materials, manufacturing processes, distribution, administration and compliance? Aparna Rao, Head – Bayer Shared Service Centre in Bengaluru talks about what makes the site so unique.
Effective and efficient business support processes are key for any company to retain its global competitiveness and edge in different markets. Through a global network of Shared Service Centers, select business processes are executed in an efficient, smart, transparent and consolidated manner, thereby generating value for Bayer worldwide. Located in seven regions – namely India (Bengaluru), Spain (Barcelona), Costa Rica (with a new satellite centre in Brazil being set up), Poland (Gdansk), Germany (Leverkusen and Berlin), Philippines (Manila) and China (Dalian) – the sites cater to different locations and time zones and act as a as back-up for each other to ensure smooth & continuous operations. The network also has in place business continuity plans, which include business recovery options for circumstances such as natural disasters or epidemics.
Right at the heart of Bengaluru, which is well-known hub for IT and shared services, you will find one of those seven key Shared Service Centers. With a growing team of close to 300 colleagues, the center provides support in 25 global languages for over 50 countries. The support services include accounts payables set up for vendors as well as their invoice processing and payments. We also manage account receivables and collection accounting for customers. Additionally, we look after travel & expense reimbursement for employee expenses. From an accounting perspective, we account for fixed assets, intercompany transactions as well as general ledger. We have recently begun new streams for procurement operations, global transformation & process management as well as a center of excellence that conducts business analytics. All of our business process activities are bundled, standardized, and automated up to a certain degree and are built up according to the requirements of the countries, divisions, and corporate functions.
We take pride in our diversity
We value innovation and we empower our people to challenge the status quo and think ahead. Our employees make use of innovative approaches in solving day-to-day business and operational challenges. And much of this is possible due to our diverse workforce. We have a gender diversity ratio of 1:1 and 60 percent of the leadership positions are occupied by women. We also have strongly-abled employees as part of our team here – of whom, seven are speech and hearing impaired, two are visually impaired/low vision colleagues and two are acid attack survivors. We have recently hired and onboarded two employees from the LGBTQIA+ community. Diversity is a fixed part of our culture and we believe this is the only way we can continue to produce innovations and remain successful in the future.
More than 40 percent of our employees are post graduates and our team is able to cater to different geographies with in-house language experts to cover the absolutely critical languages like Portuguese, Spanish and Hungarian on the floor, while others have been outsourced to a third party. This absolutely dynamic team stays constantly engaged through employee-driven activities throughout the year.
What makes our team special?
Personally, I think the uniqueness lies in the team dynamics. This young energetic, passionate team is so open and full of love. The focus on inclusion – the way we have integrated different genders, abilities, etc. shows the mindset of how welcoming we are to people who are slightly different from us. And this mindset also reflects at work and ideas where people think differently from each other and challenge each other which I think is awesome. The focus on engagement and creation of our transversal groups where people nominate themselves to different teams, create and drive the agenda shows the ownership and excitement of the team. Some examples are our employee-driven communities that focus on engagement, fun at work activities, health and safety, communications, leadership dialogue, etc.
What makes me particularly proud is the way our teams have managed the business while remaining highly engaged during these first 3 months of the covid-19 lockdown. Hiring, onboarding, training, daily operations and even transitions have all happened virtually. Some of the things the people managers did to enable this is virtual coffee connects, virtual games, even dumb charades, quizzes, collage competitions and even a virtual talent show. We also have weekly vlogs, daily team stretch exercises, new joiner connects virtually and even ‘Impact’ session with leaders where people can ask any question on their minds.
I believe, the next years will be shaped and influenced by what we see happening today. First, the ability to work from home or work from anywhere is a model that is gaining momentum and will also affect the way we work at Bengaluru in the future. Second, there is a lot of focus on digitalization and integrating competencies for a digital mindset in our day to day operations will play in an important role to enable this. Lastly, the pandemic has shown us that continued awareness and action on sustainability will remain a priority.
Our Shared Services Center in Bengaluru has been operational since 2005 and equipped with a dynamic, energetic and inclusive workforce, we are able to drive our vision to a reality – i.e. enabling business success by providing world class financial services as a trusted partner, playing a critical role in the success of Bayer.