Social Sabbaticals and the New Face of Leadership

A look at SAP’s corporate initiatives to develop new talent for work in emerging markets.
Apr 1, 2014 10:35 AM ET

Original blog on Stanford Social Innovation Review

By Alexandra van der Ploeg & Deirdre White

It’s apparent that finding tomorrow’s leaders is one of the biggest challenges facing global CEOs today. According to a recent survey, 93 percent of CEOs acknowledge that they need to change their strategies to attract and retain new talent (previous surveys have indicated the same realization), but less than a third have acted on these plans. Moreover, CEOs are concerned about finding employees who can adapt to new, fast-developing markets in Africa and Asia. Over the next year, 74 percent of CEOs expect to pursue opportunities in Africa.

Meanwhile, another recent survey found that 84 percent of Millennials care more about making a positive difference in the world than workplace recognition. This has come a long way from earlier generations that often prioritized career advancement.

Clearly, these trends indicate it’s time to fundamentally rethink the established approach to talent strategies.

Shifting culture

In an effort to meet these challenges, the technology and software solutions company SAP started what it calls a Social Sabbatical program, which sends high-performing employees into emerging economies such as South Africa, India, Brazil, and China. During these pro bono assignments, employees support entrepreneurs, NGOs, and government agencies, with the aim of positively impacting the regions economically and socially; they also gain a better understanding of how to effectively operate in these geographies.

Continue reading the original blog about SAP's social sabbatical on Stanford Social Innovation Review >>

Original source: Staford Social Innovation Review