In late 2020, SAP Canada recognized that Indigenous inclusion was a key pillar missing from our diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy.
Internal surveys indicated Indigenous people made up less than one percent of our workforce. This finding came at a time when there was growing consciousness about our responsibility to advance reconciliation and enact Truth and Reconciliation Commission Call to Action #92.
As a first step, we created an Indigenous Inclusion Steering Committee of leaders representing key functional groups at SAP: development and sales leadership, HR, communications, and hiring managers.
Knowing we could not do this on our own, our Steering Committee sought to engage experts to help guide us on the journey. We partnered with the First Nations Technology Council (FNTC) in its ambitious new program to support the technology sector, Moving Beyond Inclusion: Partnerships and Reconciliation.
The FNTC completed a thorough review of our processes and policies and delivered a report, outlining four key areas: Structures and Systems; Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and beyond; Talent and Hiring; and Corporate Social Responsibility. Out of this review came 39 action items.
Organizations across Canada are evaluating their diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategies, and how they too can respond to Call to Action #92. One year into our journey, we are excited to share the top 10 actions we have taken so far as we pursue allyship with Indigenous Peoples in Canada alongside our community of technology industry peers.
In 2021, SAP Canada took 10 action steps.
1. Decolonization training
In March 2021, a group of SAP employees took part in a two-day workshop from Hummingbirds Rising Consulting around decolonization and reconciliation in Canada. We leaned into the discomfort as we started our journey to unlearn some of our histories and repositioned ourselves in a way to properly continue the crucial work of this initiative.
2. Created a D&I toolkit for hiring managers and leadership at SAP
As a part of our wider D&I strategy, we wanted to create a more comprehensive learning resource to enable our HR professionals and managers to uphold inclusive practices. We provided concrete steps to implement inclusive culture, inclusive hiring, and inclusive career journeys into leadership. These are core leadership competencies that are critical to managers’ success as well as SAP’s.
3. Laid the groundwork for an Indigenous Inclusion Employee Network Group
We laid the groundwork to launch an Indigenous Inclusion Employee Network Group, which launched in 2022. The group will support inclusion of Indigenous people at SAP by working to create a culture in which Indigenous people feel welcomed and safe, as well as providing opportunities for career advancement.
4. Recognized the first National Day for Truth & Reconciliation
We created an opportunity for 700 employees to learn and reflect with a seminar, Canadian History Through an Indigenous Lens, covering not only the legacy and ongoing impacts of colonialism in Canada, but also the rich cultural history of Indigenous society.
5. Sponsored Indspire’s National Gathering for Indigenous Education
SAP Canada sponsored tickets for educators and other non-profits to attend Indspire’s National Gathering for Indigenous Education, a program where educators and partners can share their voices and work together to improve the educational outcomes of K-12 Indigenous students.
6. Marked Indigenous People’s Day with an artist showcase
On August 10, we celebrated the talent of Indigenous people in Canada with an artist showcase to coincide with the United Nations Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. We were honored to have four Indigenous performers as our guests. Art forms ranged from hoop dance, to singing, cooking, and spoken word poetry.
7. Made territorial land acknowledgements a practice
Working with our partners at the FNTC, we created a resource for employees to create their own land acknowledgements in meetings, communication assets, and email signatures. Territorial land acknowledgements are now a standard practice in meetings and events. This is a small action that serves to amplify the national conversation around Truth & Reconciliation.
8. Donated to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society
SAP Canada launched a donation matching campaign in support of the Indian Residential School Survivors Society.
9. Integrated an Indigenous author and book list into SAP intern welcome kits
SAP Internship Experience Program integrated learning opportunities into intern welcome kits by gifting 250 copies of A Mind Spread Out on the Ground, by Alicia Elliot, as well as a book list compiled in partnership with the FTNC and Massy Books. The program intends to continue creating opportunities for learning in 2022.
10. Sponsored an eight-week course about Indigenous women
The Business Women’s Network at SAP created an opportunity for employees to take an in-depth, eight-week course about Indigenous women, offered by Deyen Consulting. This course equips participants to act as multipliers in 2022, cascading their learning to other members of the Business Women’s Network and colleagues at SAP. The report-back sessions will be facilitated by the FNTC.
After reviewing all we were able to accomplish together in 2021,we would like to honor and express gratitude to our partners that made this work possible: the FNTC, Hummingbirds Rising Consulting, and Massy Books.
We are grateful for our continued partnership with the FNTC, which has provided instrumental guidance on our journey to improve relations with Indigenous colleagues and communities.
Reviewing all that we have been able to do so far, we look forward to continuing this work in 2022 and beyond.