SAP's Diverse and Inclusive Workplace

SAP's Diverse and Inclusive Workplace

by
Renata Janini Dohmen

Senior Vice President, Human Resources, SAP Asia Pacific Japan

Last year, SAP piloted a programme for women returning to the workforce in Japan and Korea. Here's why and how they are minimising unconscious bias at SAP. 

Helping new mothers return to the workforce

SAP recognises that many women - not just new mothers - who have stepped back from the paid workforce to focus on personal commitments are highly qualified and experienced and represent and untapped pool of high-calibre professionals. As such, the Back-to-Work programme launched in 2016 enables a seamless transition for professional women to re-enter the workforce after a career break. The programme offers project-based assignments and practical assistance, and successful candidates are assigned to projects that complement their skills and experience.

The Back-to-Work programme was piloted in Japan and Korea. These two countries are at the bottom of the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index which ranks 145 economies according to how well they are leveraging their female talent pool, based on economic, educational, health-based, and political indicators. The programme has since been rolled out in Australia, New Zealand, India, and Singapore.

There is a global talent shortage and companies need to transform to win the digital war for talent. The Back-to-Work programme is a win-win situation not only for professional women who are eager to re-enter the workforce, but also for SAP as an organisation as they also bring with them the best practices from other leading companies.

The positive impact on business

Since the launch of the Back-to-Work programme in 2016, many employees from the programme have been given the opportunity to convert into permanent roles and continue their career journey with SAP. This is a clear indicator of success for all in SAP – the leaders are confident of the value these talents can bring to the organisation, recruiters are able to fill roles more quickly, and these professional women have a second chance to contribute to the economy. With the goal of having 30% of women in management by 2022, SAP continues to be innovative in the way we inspire women to unlock and rediscover their potential.

At SAP, our employee value proposition is ‘Bring Everything You Are. Become Everything You Want’.

Gender diversity is just one of the pillars that makes us a diverse and inclusive organisation; we know that a truly diverse and inclusive organisation goes beyond just gender diversity and includes other areas such as culture and identity, cross-generational intelligence, and differently-abled people. Employees are looking for purpose and meaning in their daily work, and are excited to see how their work contributes to our company vision of helping the world run better and improving people’s lives.

We adopt a comprehensive and holistic approach in the various initiatives that we execute across the region and it is the inclusivity of these various programmes that makes us an employer of choice. According to internal employee surveys, a staggering 96% of employees are proud to work for SAP and 91% of employees believe that the company enables them to succeed while being their authentic selves.

There is a significant positive correlation between employee engagement and revenue, and our research has revealed that a change in one percentage point has an impact of 40 to 50 million euros on our company’s operation profits. There is no doubt – it is clear that employee experiences drive business success.

SAP’s definition of a diverse and inclusive workforce

SAP’s vision is to help the world run better and improve people's’ lives. Globally, we have over 85,000 employees representing more than 150 nationalities contributing to the success of SAP. It is the unique perspective of each individual that makes SAP a more innovative and dynamic organisation – a key source of our success that helps drive business results.

At SAP, diversity and inclusion are defined by four pillars. They include gender intelligence, culture and identity, cross-generational intelligence as well as differently-abled people. In today’s era of digitalisation, diversity of thought and true inclusion are imperative to innovate for tomorrow, to better understand customers’ needs, to increase employee engagement, and to maintain business success. SAP is committed not only to the principles that underlie this culture, but also the day-to-day practices that bring it to life.

Eradicating unconscious bias

In 2016, SAP launched a fully integrated, company-wide leadership initiative called Business Beyond Bias that focuses on the commitment to eliminate unconscious bias and to enable an inclusive culture fuelled by diverse workforces. Building a Business Beyond Bias helps SAP drive improved business results, fuel innovation, and increase the satisfaction of both our customers and our workforce.

We have the technology and global influence to tackle inequality and bias and be a force for change. By using new and existing technology from SAP SuccessFactors, our customers around the globe are empowered to harness the best-qualified and available talent and make the best business decisions to move beyond bias in their own organisation.

In October this year, we announced the release of a new job analyser functionality embedded within SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting Management solution to help organisations craft effective, competitive job descriptions and eliminate unconscious bias in recruiting.

The benefits of belonging to a diverse workforce

The benefits of working in a diverse workforce are immense. Employees who work for a diverse workforce know that they are respected for who they are and are treated regardless of their cultural identity, gender, or sexual preferences. Differences are not only embraced but celebrated, and this encourages a dynamic exchange of perspectives and viewpoints. Being able to express oneself in a nurturing environment is a key factor in employee morale, and this in turn paves the way for greater creativity and innovation.

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