Ania Poleszak, Administration Shared Services Center Manager at Sii Poland, joining the administration team did not expect that she would face the challenge of building the teams of Sii’s youngest organizational unit. Explore her career path and find out what interest group she is the founder of.
Tell us your story with Sii. How did it happen that you joined the Lublin administration team?
Anna Poleszak, Administration Shared Services Center Manager: My professional experience has been connected with working in large and medium-sized enterprises, in the HR, Payroll and Accounting departments. When Sii branch in Lublin has opened and they searched for the manager of the administration team, I immediately felt that it was something for me. Every point of the advertisement I could easily check off as – “I can do it”.
I was accepted and, to my surprise, I felt that I couldn’t do anything. All processes, concepts, structure and communication style were new to me. First I had to learn the company, and then, after gaining some confidence, I reached for my experience.
How have your duties changed since the Shared Services Center was established in Lublin?
A.P.: SSC currently consists of 3 teams – Documents Register, Travels and Billing, employing a total of 50 people.
Creating each of them is a separate story, but they have one thing in common – the emotions of building something new and unknown, and wonderful people creating efficient units.
As the manager of the administration department, apart from taking care of a team of several people, I had many operational responsibilities: preparing contracts, completing data, approving documents. The establishment of the SSC means building the team concept from scratch, setting goals, deadlines and focusing on processes. It is a strategy for the future and risk management. Currently, I do not perform operational activities, I focus on recruiting the best people, creating structure and managing change. The latter is my close companion.
The most valuable lesson for me is that I undertook this challenge – vaguely defined at the beginning – and that I did not give up. At first, many were skeptical. Is it possible to centralize processes in Sii, where there is such a strong division into local departments? Now we know the answer, and all the hardships that had to be overcome only strengthened us, both the team and me.
What exactly does your department do?
A.P.: Shared Services is a general term for units in organizations that perform back-office processes centrally. In practice, this means that activities that have so far been performed in individual local departments go to one place. Examples include invoice records, including freelancers’ invoices, business travel settlement or customer invoicing.
Centralization brings many benefits to the organization, hence there are constantly new ideas about centralizing new business areas.
What are the biggest challenges in your current position?
A.P.: Customer invoicing is a sensitive area. It is not only an internal process and the quality of work must be excellent, which means that the selection of the team is extremely careful and thoughtful.
The pace of the project has gained momentum and we are hiring 3-5 new employees every month. My biggest challenge is to recruit many people in a short time and maintain the quality of work in a quickly created team.
And what gives you the greatest satisfaction at work?
A.P.: Multidimensionality of my position and visible development of employees. As a manager at Sii, I combine many roles. I am a recruiter, organizer, PM, coach, sometimes a fortune teller 😉 I get satisfaction from combining these roles – they allow me to develop and improve my and my team’s competences. I am delighted when colleagues clearly make progress, gain self-confidence, become experts and sometimes try their luck at internal recruitment.
You are also the founder of the GardenerSii interest group, what gave you the idea for such a community?
A.P.: I love flowers, garden, animals – just nature. There was a stage in my life when I was ashamed of it. Happily, I pushed those unsupportive beliefs out of my head and started communicating to my surroundings what comes straight from my heart. I took part in the Sii competition and took a photo in a wheelbarrow, which was included in the company’s calendar. I started bringing bouquets to the office, and the conversations in the kitchens increasingly turned to gardening.
It turned out that around me – at Sii – there are many people who share this passion. The group I established in the spirit of “I hope someone will sign up”, quickly became nationwide and joins almost 100 people.
This is another lesson for me: do what you love, get the stereotypes and unsupportive thoughts out of your head… and just watch something good grow.