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The Times They Are A Changin’

Feature Article | December 22, 2016 by Sandra Schuppe

SAP consistently achieves recognition for its support of the LGBT community and therefore, sends out a strong message to its employees and to the corporate world: Now it’s time to be unique – everybody is welcome!

In today’s hyper-competitive digital era, the winners will be those companies that cultivate an inclusive, supportive environment for employees who reflect, and can empathize with, the world around us. SAP has doubled down on building precisely that type of work environment to attract, retain and inspire talent from all walks of life, including the LGBT community. “ – Jewell Parkinson, SVP, head of HR, SAP North America

Perhaps one of the greatest achievements is SAP’s being named a top workplace for LGBT equality for the fourth consecutive year by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. The company once again achieved a perfect 100 score on the HRC‘s 2017 Corporate Equality  Index.

Based on this achievement, SAP America was also mentioned as an “LGBT Company” in the Philadelphia Business Journal for the 2016 LGBT Business of Pride Awards .

Callout box:
Each year, the American civil rights organization Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation launches its Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a national benchmarking survey and report, to rate American workplaces on policies and practices for their LGBT employees. Companies that achieve a high score engage in work to prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and to ensure equal rights for everyone.

Words, but also actions

Sadly, one can find discrimination in many aspects of life: in the workplace, in private life, and even when it comes to health coverage. For example, many health plans do not cover, and even reject, necessary procedures for transgender individuals.
SAP America Inc. recently announced new transgender-inclusive benefits for employees and dependents that enhanced the previous offering. Under this plan, even more treatments and procedures that are necessary for a gender transition are covered by health insurance.

We run simple….

…and effectively.
Big actions, like introducing new health care coverage are essential, but little ones are also important. In 2015, SAP introduced gender-neutral restrooms at SAP headquarters in Walldorf, Germany. This type of change does not take much effort, but the underlying message is clear: everybody can be their authentic selves. A simple step for SAP, but an effective step for our colleagues.

SAP believes in community and constantly strives to be a better workplace for everyone.
Many employees dedicate their work and effort to LGBT inclusion, and their commitment is not left unnoticed. This year, two SAP employees, Niarchos Pombo and Jenny Dearborn, made the list of inspirational LGBT global leaders and LGBT Ally role models, respectively, which was published by the network OUTstanding and the Financial Times.

Raising awareness among employees opens up the discussion about diversity and inclusion. This year, SAP launched an internal learning program that covers diversity and inclusion topics; the program addresses issues such as LGBT inclusion, as well as gender, cultural, cross-generational, and differently-abled people intelligence, among others.


SAP recognized as a global leader for LGBT inclusion

SAP is seen as a global leader for its LGBT inclusion efforts.  The European Commission published a report in which SAP was recognized for its commitment regarding LGBT inclusion in the workplace. Further examples in the U.S. are SAP’s signing of the “Equality is our Business” pledge and joining the “Business Coalition for the Equality Act”. Additionally, SAP Spain achieved second place in the EMIDIS ranking in LGBT Diversity and Inclusion.

So much has been achieved – and yet there is still so much to do. Every person, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, is unique, but not everyone is yet allowed by law and/or society to show their uniqueness. Awards, certificates and nominations aren’t going to solve the problem of discrimination in the world. Also, there is no quick solution for true inclusion. We constantly have to strive to make the world a better place – and the workplace is a good start.

Such achievements as those mentioned above demonstrate that companies are on the right track in creating diverse and inclusive workplaces for everyone – and SAP is proud to be one of them.
So, in the spirit of holiday season – a time when we think of others and strive for greater unity – here’s to all the unicorns out there: May you feel empowered to be yourselves and embrace who you truly are. #Runprouder #businessbeyondbias #diversityandinclusion

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