Diversity at SAP

SAP continues to focus on a more diverse workforce. Anka Wittenberg, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, and Moya Watson, co-lead of the employee initiative Pride@SAP North America, explain how.

In April, SAP joined the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Business Coalition for Workplace Fairness. This coalition reflects the list of businesses that support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) in the United States, which would make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity – or in other words, to be fired, refused work, or otherwise discriminated against for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.

This is the latest in a series of steps SAP is taking to build and retain a more diverse workforce. One of the most well-known initiatives is probably Pride@SAP. With its numerous regional chapters it focuses on the company-wide engagement for the LGBT community.

Anka Wittenberg and Moya Watson comment on the importance of this commitment and other current initiatives.

Q: Why did SAP sign the HRC’s Business Coalition for Workplace Fairness document?

Wittenberg: It is of the utmost importance at SAP to provide an inclusive work environment for all of our colleagues – regardless of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity. It is imperative that employees feel empowered to be who they are; their authentic selves. By signing the HRC document, SAP is sending the clear message that we respect and support the rights of all people.

Q: What will be the effect? Who will benefit?

Watson: In the US, there are still many states in which it is perfectly legal to discriminate against someone just because of their sexual orientation. 29 states allow individuals to be fired just for being gay. In 34 states, it is legal to discriminate against transgender colleagues. By joining the Business Coalition for Workplace Fairness, SAP makes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender colleagues and their families feel more secure and provides the security that our rights will be respected.

Q: What other achievements has SAP had in this area recently?

Watson: SAP has achieved a perfect score in the HRC’s Corporate Equality Index in 2015 for the third year (second contiguous year). We’re working to remain on track to continue to score 100% for 2016’s index.

Thanks to support from SAP Silicon Valley, SAP will be marching for the first time in the San Francisco Pride Parade on June 28. This major event will bring together all of SAP Silicon Valley’s five campuses and takes place the day after SAP marches – also for the first time — in the Berlin Christopher Street Day Parade, the equivalent of our Pride parade, on June 27.  With this, SAP truly marches around the globe according to our hashtag: #RunProuder

In addition, Pride@SAP North America is very excited to announce that Jenny Dearborn, Chief Learning Officer at SAP, has agreed to be our executive sponsor. Not only will Jenny march with us in the Pride parade in San Francisco, but she will be an advocate for us both inside and outside SAP.

Wittenberg: SAP has achieved a number of significant milestones in the past several months in regards to diversity and inclusion. In addition to signing the HRC document, SAP also recently signed the United Nations Global Compact’s Women’s Empowerment Principles CEO Statement, supporting gender equality. We recently hosted our first Women’s Leadership Summit prior to SAPPHIRE NOW, and were overwhelmed by the positive response we received – from our customers, our executives, as well as the amazing support of our own Business Women’s Network which has over 8,000 members and 31 chapters around the world.

During SAPPHIRE NOW, an agreement between SAP and several key black colleges was signed. Through a series of meetings between our Black Employee Network (BEN), University Alliances, and Delaware State University we successfully launched a strategic initiative to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as a way to enhance student’s academic results and career outcomes, whilst at the same time finding underrepresented students.

Q: What’s next for Diversity & Inclusion at SAP?

Wittenberg: We are eager to shine a light on many of our other employee networks who work so hard to support and promote diversity here at SAP – including the Black Employee Network, Latinos@SAP, Cultures@SAP, and numerous others. There is so much great work underway, but still lots to be done to advance the rights and needs of all people here at SAP and ensure they have a voice. It is the responsibility of all of us to help make colleagues feel included, safe, and truly appreciated.

More information on Pride@SAP’s participation in the global Pride events:

For the first time in history participants of the SAP employee intitiative Pride@SAP, alongside with their families, friends, and supporters, will be marching in the San Francisco Pride Parade on June 28 and the Berlin Christopher Street Day Parade on June 27. So far more than 50 participants have registered for Berlin, and more than 200 for San Francisco. With this, SAP truly marches around the globe according to the hashtag: #RunProuder

Top image: Urte Thoelke, SAP (winner of the SAP Diversity&Inclusion photo contest)