Designing SAP SuccessFactors Products with Intentional, Scalable Inclusivity


I look forward to celebrating Pride every year, whether it be with one of our many LGBTQ+ colleagues or the countless others like me who consider themselves allies. Throughout the month of June, SAP has held panels, meetups, Pride parade celebrations, and so much more, all in the service of building relationships and expanding learning.

At SAP, inclusion and diversity is core to our culture. SAP SuccessFactors strives to develop each of our products with an intentionally inclusive mindset. This means incorporating different people and perspectives from the very start of design and long after a product has “launched.” It means ensuring products are accessible, constantly evaluating algorithms, and building products that can be used according to individual preferences. It also means practicing our own growth mindset to adapt and evolve as we learn new things.

Today, organizations and C-suites across the world promote the important and long overdue conversations of inclusivity and belonging. People are not cogs – how someone understands and defines themself is constantly evolving. In fact, according to the Harvard Business Review, 25% of Gen-Z expects to change their gender identity at least once. So, it’s important for all of us to consider what more can be done at work to ensure that our colleagues feel accepted and that our software adapts to these changes.

It’s important to listen.

In conversations I’ve had with our LGBTQ+ colleagues at SAP SuccessFactors as well as customers and advocates outside the company, I’ve learned so much about what the community expects – and deserves – in their tech. All too often, organizations make the mistake of assuming that their individual workers want to be “treated like everyone else.”

Of course, being treated the same for some is progress, but I still find that far too limiting. There is an opportunity to level up to celebrating each individual for exactly what makes them unique. And to do that, the tools we use must enable the recognition and empowerment of the full spectrum of human experience and identities.

Bringing your whole self to work means that you can share your skills and capabilities as well as your goals, passions, and interests. It means that you can share life events and be open about how those could change your goals. And it means each person – every person – feels empowered to show up proudly wearing their truth, especially historically marginalized communities like those who identify themselves as LGBTQ+.

Younger generations entering the workforce today consider the ability to control the displays of their identities, such as chosen names and multi-gender and preferred pronouns, a crucial part of their work experience. And this all takes part in a larger conversation of intersectional priorities, like an expectation of digital accessibility for the differently abled.

With SAP SuccessFactors solutions, we are building inclusivity at scale. With our whole self model, grounded in research, we look beyond skills and competencies to better understand more about the individual, their strengths, aspirations, preferences, and more. We are building this on a data foundation to leverage machine learning and adaptability so that organizations can empower people to bring their authentic selves to work. By focusing on the individual, we help our customers create a sustainable workforce where employees – and the business – thrive.

Because this isn’t just the right thing to do – though it certainly is that – it’s a business imperative, too. According to recent statistics:

I’m proud of SAP and our own record on inclusivity. We’re committed to being a diverse and inclusive software company. In 2022, the U.S. Human Rights Campaign Foundation again named our company a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality, a title we’ve carried since 2014.

And of course, as users of our own solutions, we know that our SAP SuccessFactors solutions enable not only our customers but our friends and colleagues as well. As SAP works toward our goal of zero waste, zero emissions, and zero inequality, we are building the tech to match the moment.

Learn more about how we’re helping customers build businesses beyond bias and support people sustainability in this recent Forward Live episode.

Meg Bear is president and chief product officer for SAP SuccessFactors.