Last year, I experienced my first Pride Parade in London. It’s safe to say it was an unforgettable experience.

The atmosphere was electric. The sense of compassion, warmth and humility reverberating throughout the streets of the Capital was inspiring. But what truly struck me, was the sheer joy emanating among the crowds.

People were ecstatic to be openly celebrating who they are, and that people were not only watching, but embracing them. This atmosphere is something that we at SAP are continuously working to instil.

The Pride Parade was truly a highlight of my year, and I’m disappointed that we couldn’t enjoy the celebration in person again this year. Nevertheless, my colleagues and I stand united with those across the country who celebrated virtually instead.

At SAP, throughout June and July we are hosting several virtual diversity and inclusion events. Our various employee network groups dedicated to diversity and inclusion, will each participate in this show of solidarity and prove that together, we run even better.

It’s abundantly clear that industry needs to do more, much more, for us to become an inclusive world. The recent protests in the US and across the world demonstrate the urgency behind creating space for all to live, imagine, and be inspired oblivious to gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

Diversity and inclusion are hugely important for SAP. It is a core value for us; we strive to create an inclusive culture that empowers people to run at their best and enables the many voices at SAP to create a greater sense of community. Throughout my career I’ve always endeavoured to cultivate an open and safe environment, where people are comfortable expressing who they really are.

SAP is proud to be recognised for our work on diversity and inclusion. We were named a Stonewall Top Global Employer for the second year in a row in 2019 for LGBT inclusion. In 2020, SAP was also selected for the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index for the second straight year.

Our culture of diversity and inclusion has notable business benefits too. By shouting about these benefits, and vocalising our opinions on diversity, we at SAP, hope to accelerate the rate at which acceptance becomes the standard across the globe.

The benefits of being a diverse and inclusive business are endless. Companies that embrace pro LGBT policies outperform those without them in the stock market by +3%. 77% of CEOs whose organizations have a diversity and inclusiveness strategy say it’s enhanced performance and 72% of employees said they would leave an organization for one they believe is more inclusive. By whatever margin you asses – profit, employee satisfaction, innovation – being a diverse and inclusive workplace engenders enviable results.

Whether it’s for business benefits or because it’s the right thing to do, fostering a culture of inclusion empowers people to run at their best.

However, a frequent criticism aimed at businesses who broach diversity and inclusion, is that they talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk. This sentiment is voiced loud and clear by millennials across the globe: 71% of whom feel that while organisations talk about diversity, the fact is that opportunities are not really equal for all.

And this is a criticism that must be taken constructively. Often diversity and inclusion policies do miss the mark.

At SAP, we are committed to adapting and updating our culture to enable everyone to thrive. In order to continue to walk the walk we ask our employees to hold us accountable. Pride@SAP is a global employee network with more than 8,000 members worldwide, both LGBTQ+ and non LGBTQ+ employees, and was founded back in 2001. The UK chapter has over 200 members, with each member empowered to keep leadership accountable, support LGBTQ+ colleagues, raise awareness and so much more.

When it comes to diversity and inclusion, there’s no resting on one’s laurels. There is always more we can do. SAP believes that everyone has the right to be who they are, and we support our employees so that they feel comfortable to do so.

Ultimately, there is no doubt that fostering diversity and inclusion is the right thing to do on all fronts, and we at SAP are proud to shout about it.

To find out more about SAP and diversity and inclusion, click here.