A Day in the Life of… Jean-Luc Barbier, International Managing Director and CEO Germany.

8 September 2017

In this blog series, we catch up with members of the GSS SD Worx senior management team to find out a little bit about them, including what they do at work each day and why. These Q&A style blogs will reveal personality and insight of some of our core team: the people who help to make SD Worx great!

Our next member of the leadership team is: Jean-Luc Barbier, International Managing Director and CEO Germany.

1. Describe your average day in the office at SD Worx
I am always on the road, travelling overseas for at least 19 days of each month, and spending around three hours per day on transport. I’m a genuine business travel lover!
Despite moving around a lot, I like to stay very connected with my team via several channels (which I admit, I am very attached to). Travel time allows me to respond quickly to incoming emails and deal rapidly with situations that require high attention. Travelling keeps me focused as I don’t get as distracted as I would in a conventional office.
I also spend a lot of time with partners and clients either on the phone or face to face at a strategic level: the management of those relationships is vital to and I try to find the right balance between corporate management, team management GSS and Germany and digital project management, wherever in the world I may be.
I like to be as available for my team as possible, as the best thing you can give others as a business leader is your time.

2. What is your favourite thing about working for SD Worx?
SD Worx has an amazing culture, with fascinating people and incredible potential: I feel extremely proud to be part of it. I am trusted by the organisation to be independent and that enables me to thrive – of course, to earn this freedom, you must have the right level of self-motivation: spirit can get you further than any type of qualification. SD Worx understands the challenges I face each day, and empowers me to make the right decisions in the face of these difficulties and exciting challenges.

3. What is the focus of your role?
At SD Worx, I feel privileged to work with people from such a diverse range of backgrounds: these different experiences both professionally and culturally complement each other perfectly and at the end of the day, we all come together with the same aim. The focus of my role is to drive sustainable, qualitative growth and build a strong foundation that can deliver something truly valuable.

4. You are CEO at SD Worx Germany, head of the GSS organisation. How do you manage to meet the requirements and expectations of these different roles?

Luckily, I enjoy the challenge! I am not easily stressed and that’s a very important part of leadership - in fact, the busier I am, the happier I am. That said, to succeed in any role you need to be surrounded by smart, reliable people. It is impossible to do everything on your own and so building a strong team and obtaining the best support are key to success. I always try to think of the big picture as a leader and I don’t hesitate to delegate projects to the best people – which I always oversee myself.

5. Does the German market benefit in a specific way from the fact that you are also head of the GSS organisation and vice versa?
Absolutely, the growth of the GSS division is relevant to greater profitability within the German market. The two benefit from each other and support one another. When we sign an international deal, it benefits the whole organisation at a global and local level. One cannot succeed without the other: we bring the two forces together to accelerate and strengthen everything we do and deliver.

6. What are you most passionate about in terms of your role?
Three things: the fact that people I work with motivate me; our customer-oriented mentality; and the quality of the services we provide. I am also passionate about ensuring my team is happy – I take time to listen and understand their needs, and adapt as necessary, which has served me well to date. I get satisfaction from creating an environment where everybody has a role, sense of purpose and feels part of something big.

7. Why do you do what you do?
I am results-driven, passionate and ambitious for the company. I wake up each morning feeling positive about the work I do, and use every day to make the best impact that I can. If one day I stop enjoying what I’m doing, I’ll stop – it’s as simple as that. Energy and enthusiasm are the key qualities I look for in the people I work with, as these are the things that lead to success (in my experience).

8. How do you like to wind down at the end of a working day?
I am a wine connoisseur and a lover of fine food. I enjoy cooking – there’s nothing better than sharing a glass of wine and dinner with family and/or friends, and seeing them enjoying a meal that I have prepared.

9. What is your vision for SD Worx within your role?
My vision is to position SD Worx in the international market as a key challenger brand that succeeds through strong leadership skills, and is known globally for its great savoir-faire (that’s French for expertise!) in HR and payroll.

10. What would you like to say to people that doesn’t know about SD Worx
SD Worx is quite unique in its domain - it is like a start-up in terms of International ambition, but has existed for 70 years. This is an unusual combination, but as I have found, it’s also a winning one. SD Worx listens to market and customer needs, always showing integrity and communicating long-term strategy as well as short term goals. So, if you are a challenger, energetic and want to make a positive impact – we’d love to have you on board!