Naara Comabella talks about her and her team’s role in making life and work at GSG very special.
Naara Comabella is our Global Workplace Experience Associate Director. She leads a team across 14 hubs that are responsible for our hybrid-first workforce. Activating our culture, empowering the workplace experience. Her goal is to make the employees’ journey more outstanding, exciting, and memorable.
When she is not on business travel, music plays a vital role as she DJs at many clubs across countries, cultures, and continents.
So, the GSG value #MoveLearnChange has always been in her DNA.
GSG is a global group with a strong local understanding of our different markets. Can you tell us about some of the experiences that unite everyone?
As manager of the Global Workplace Experience Team, I have focused on creating a strategy that we have called “Think Global, Act Local”, this implies harmonizing and streamlining the experience for all GSG’ers, respecting at all times the customs, personalities, and needs of each hub as well as uniting all cultures, genders, nationalities, religions, and age groups as one powerful team.
We have done a great job of brainstorming with the team. We’ve implemented walking meetings, where everyone is kept on their toes and these have proved to be very inspiring. We have created an annual calendar of events and activities that we convene in all the hubs on a regular basis, such as the bi-weekly Welcome Breakfast for new joiners, the monthly Happy Hour, the two big Annual Events (mid-year & end-of-the-year parties), the launch of our new values in the Values Day, last year’s 10th Anniversary celebration of GSG… and more surprises that are coming very soon!
It is very clear for the whole Workplace Experience Team: we are #StrongerTogether!
What differences are made when you are looking for experiences that are unique to certain hubs?
Here the dedication, empathy, and imagination of each hub’s Workplace Experience Manager is key… It is very important they know how to define the local strategy whilst I provide the global glue that holds us together. These local representatives are in constant contact with GSG’ers in their hub, country, and region. In fact, they probably spend more time listening than talking or writing. This feedback and learning empowers them to anticipate not only the group’s needs but also those of the individual. When combined with data, measuring the success of our program via surveys and analysis, we are able as a team to make recommendations that will improve programs in the future.
One of the challenges across our group globally is the fact that we operate in many different time zones. When one hub is at breakfast, another at lunch and another at dinner, what do you do to get around this?
For the virtual global events and the weekly team meetings, it is not a problem, quite the contrary, we look for the time in which everyone can attend, even if for some it is breakfast time, for others lunch and for others snacks, in the end this enriches us.
GSG has just celebrated another great summer party, with different events going on in all our cities. Are there any moments or parties that stood out for you?
For me they are all remarkable, it is beautiful to see how each Office Manager prints their personality to each party, they know the culture, the co-workers and their needs and preferences better than anyone. Thus we have had, for example, a Flower Power party in Paris, a BBQ & karaoke party in Warsaw, a typical Swedish Mid-Summer Party with Flower Crown making in Amsterdam, a Rooftop party in London, a “Festa Junina” in Sâo Paulo, Hawaiian party in a Biergarten in Munich, a Boat Party in Berlin, a Dj & dinner in the very center of Madrid, A Segway scape tour in Malaga, dinner in a brewery with a DJ in Bangalore… they all had the same guidelines, however they have managed to create unique, different and memorable events. I am very grateful for the whole team.
Still on the summer parties, was there anything you did for the people who couldn’t make it to the locations?
Yes, of course, we have organized a “Virtual Funny Challenge” accompanied by a voucher for food & drinks, a space to have fun and also to e-meet colleagues from other countries and teams.
What’s next on your agenda for the coming months?
We are preparing a happy hour for September with the theme of “Sports & Wellness”, linked to one of our values: #MoveLearnChange, with surprises and above all a lot of fun.
We are also planning to organize events with a more social character in October #MakeitGreat, activities for the Black Friday #CustomerObsessed and of course an end-of-the-year celebration with surprises #StrongerTogether… but shhhhh, this is still a secret 😉