If the more than 105,000 SAP employees all took just one step toward creating the change the world needs by taking action outside of their day-to-day work, imagine the impact that would result. SAP Corporate Social Responsibility (SAP CSR) and its champions work together to bring opportunities to all employees who are looking to make a positive impact in ways that are meaningful to them.
SAP CSR’s strategy utilizes two approaches to create sustainable impact: being an enabler and an exemplar. As an enabler, we provide products and services that help meet sustainability challenges and create opportunities for customers. As an exemplar, we lead by example in our own sustainable business operations and practices to bring our purpose of helping the world run better and improving people’s lives to life. It is no secret that SAP’s commitment to creating positive economic, environmental, and social impact is a draw for potential employees and customers.
There is no better example of that than the work employees do to bring that CSR mindset into the work they do every day. SAP’s impact is greater because of leaders who integrate the CSR mindset into the business culture, like Maggie Ramaiah.
Meet Maggie Ramaiah
Ramaiah’s social impact journey began much like so many of ours. She was involved in one-off events here and there, trying to prioritize doing something good while at work so she could show up more authentically and with more energy to give it her all. However, when she joined the SAP Academy faculty as vice president of the SAP Academy for Customer Success – Sales Program, she began to take her dedication to making an impact to the next level, not only for herself but for those around her as well.
Ramaiah is a passionate supporter of enabling others to pursue their passions through pro bono volunteering. She knows that with some organization, the impact we can make collectively is limitless. SAP has tremendous power to make an impact in a small amount of time. These beliefs are why she works to bring out the best in others by providing opportunities to contribute in a tangible way that is meaningful to them. This core value of investing in employees builds strong leadership competencies, which in turn leads to greater collaboration, innovation, and trust among each other and with customers.
“In the corporate environment, we are all driven by success, but the CSR mindset is about human beings. We can do something good for everybody that we come across. It doesn’t have to be big; small little steps make a difference, too.”Maggie Ramaiah
Ramaiah has participated in pro bono volunteering programs and was inspired when she created change. During her time with Pro Bono for Economic Equity, a program SAP has partnered with that focuses on supporting Black- and Indigenous-owned businesses in North America, Ramaiah was assigned to a team of three pro bono consultants who had never worked together. Over the course of six weeks, Ramaiah and her team worked part-time with GoLogic Solutions, based in Chicago, Illinois, to propose an organizational structure for new business models. This was her aha moment. “At SAP, we have everything done for us from a process and resource perspective. We just have to look for it. However, for an organization that is run by one person, or maybe two or three people, everything is so constrained,” Ramaiah said.
“Every resource that we put out there from an SAP perspective, we might think is a few hours’ worth of work, but for [social enterprises] it’s a whole end-to-end project that they might not have been able to create,” she added. This is a unique way of appreciating the skills that employees bring to their company and a view that builds confidence, empathy, innovative thinking, and other leadership qualities. Ramaiah’s inspiration to increase her impact footprint came from her experience creating change for an entrepreneur as part of Pro Bono for Economic Equity.
Ramaiah saw the opportunity to integrate skills-based volunteering and pro bono consulting into the curriculum of SAP Academy, multiplying her impact and enabling others. She offered associates the chance to use what they already knew as well as skills they were developing for good by supporting social enterprise clients through the TRANSFORM Support Hub, a virtual pro bono consulting initiative between SAP, EY, MovingWorlds, TRANSFORM, and Unilever.
Ramaiah’s goal is to build future leaders who think with a CSR mindset. A CSR mindset is something they can carry with them throughout their career and can be transferred to any team, program, or even company. Specialized experience is not required for employees to build leadership qualities and evolve the way they think at work and about business. Many only need an example set, or the opportunity presented to them. Being a multiplier does not require special skills or knowledge. It can be planning a team volunteer activity, ensuring that each team member knows that volunteering their time is important for their professional growth and overall satisfaction at work. It can also be as simple as sharing stories and takeaways from your own impact experiences or asking your network for support on a social impact project.
There is not just one way to set an example and enable those around us to make an impact – what resonates with some might not resonate with others, and it is important to build in choice for meaningful and transformative experiences. At SAP, being a multiplier for good and investing in our employees, either as an enabler, an exemplar, or both like in Ramaiah’s case, leads to innovation through experiencing new ways of working, trust with our customers, quality leadership with values that the world needs, and a greater ability to achieve our goal of helping the world run better and improving people’s lives.
Ramaiah’s journey to being a CSR champion went from her pursing her own interests and passions to helping others find theirs by integrating the CSR mindset into the programs she leads. If you feel inspired to continue your journey as an exemplar and an enabler, we invite you to share this story and join us on the TRANSFORM Support Hub.
Heidi Pio is a non-profit in residence at SAP.
Atalanta Kyriazi is a non-profit in residence at SAP.