Best week ever? Best week ever.

My week was an all-time highlight because I was in Orlando for SAP’s #SAPPHIRENOW. I’ve been to a lot of conferences, but this one was incredible. I won’t bury the lede: It was mostly such a high for me because I got to see former President Barack Obama speak on Monday. Being in the room with someone I respect so deeply was incredibly moving for me. His message was about the power of great teams and how you can’t really fake or easily recreate that special sauce known as culture. I cried when he wrapped up. For reals…

His message was one of hope. Why is he so hopeful, even in such divisive times? Because of the young people he meets. He believes in the power of people, and he called on everyone in the room to find ways to use technology to train the next generation of leaders, bring them together, create organic networks, remove the isolation we’re all battling and encourage them.

But wait, there’s more! I was also encouraged by the many other leaders and speakers I talked to this week. Here’s a sampling of what they taught me.

Making Work More Human

Human resources is about humans, and that’s what Thrive Global and SAP want to remind people about. I talked to Ruslan Tovbulatov and Kristi Sanders about the partnership between SAP and Thrive Global. Ruslan described the Thrive Global mission as being to end stress and burnout, help people find purpose and meaning and guide people on how to manage their relationship with technology.

Thrive Global is partnering with SAP to make an impact on how people work. “There’s a culture of being always on that’s really impacting people’s ability to create,” Kristi says. So, the two companies are creating a new model to proactively support employees and encourage them to bring their whole selves to work. That “whole self” model includes all aspects of wellness, including body, mind and purpose.

The new program, called Well-Being at Work, is powered by SAP SuccessFactors Work-Life. The tech brings the vision to life, providing real-time insights into employees’ well-being, and making targeted recommendations to improve employee satisfaction and engagement.

Making Well-Being a Priority

I also talked to Sophie Leguillette, head of global marketing at SAP SuccessFactors. She described her recent experience training for a marathon, which helped her manage the stress of her career. She was focused on personal well-being, and gave herself permission to train for the marathon even though she worried she might lag at work. Her team at SAP was completely supportive, actively encouraging her to succeed. That’s the secret sauce, people — purpose-driven cultures create better outcomes.

Delivering a Better Experience

In marketing, “experience” is a hot buzzword. A company’s success rests on how well it can build a positive customer experience. Stefan Ries, CHRO at SAP, is also bullish on experience — the employee experience.

HR leaders have a “golden opportunity to change the paradigm,” he says. He watches B2C companies and studies how they create great experiences for customers. Then he tries to use the same principles to create great experiences for employees. “It’s all about the experience,” he says. “If I can’t deliver that, I need to change how HR works as a function.”

 

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