This year, I have traveled around the world, attending forums and visiting workplaces in Portugal, Prague, Japan, and the United States among others. Now, at home in Berlin, I’ve had an opportunity to reflect on the past few months’ worth of insights from those activities and events. In doing so, I’ve become aware that I may have a bit of an optimism bias, thanks to my role and focus area.
According to a Time magazine article called The Optimism Bias, “To make progress, we need to be able to imagine alternative realities — better ones — and we need to believe that we can achieve them.” I think this “optimism” helps to motivate us to pursue our goals, work longer hours, etc. But I’d like to say that it’s more than that. I believe we are making very real progress.
When we support diversity and inclusion, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it favorably impacts the bottom line, we have progressed from a vision to a very real, practical and sustainable solution.
The case for hope
As SAP’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, I am fortunate to meet with many amazing women and men who advocate for women, underrepresented minorities, different-abled people, human rights and equality. These people are helping others understand the very real value of a diverse and inclusive workforce, tapping into the increased innovation driven by multiple perspectives that makes our world better. SAP is being recognized for its accomplishments and is winning awards for significant achievements.
Here’s a quick look at our journey over the last few months:
SAP China won the “2017 Best Employer for Women” Award in March at the Her Village International Forum in Beijing. Hosted by Ms. Yang Lan, the event theme was “Leading Innovation in a Time of Change,” which strongly mirrored SAP’s Cloud and Innovation focus in 2017. Mark Gibbs, President of SAP Greater China, showcased SAP’s Diversity and Inclusion strategy and initiatives, discussing how SAP is driving a business beyond bias.
Diversity matters: In addition to the award, SAP gained huge brand exposure – in the first 48 hours alone, five million people watched online, and there were 400 million page views, with extensive online and social media reporting.
On the first day of SAPPHIRE, Bill McDermott reflected on the many accomplishments of SAP’s own diversity and inclusion initiatives. He noted that SAP was the first multinational technology corporation to receive the Economic Dividends for Gender Equality (EDGE) certificate, recognizing SAP’s global commitments and actions in achieving and sustaining gender diversity and equality in the workplace. He also highlighted SAP’s Autism at Work program, and emphasized the need for all of us to have empathy for others – a key element of inclusion.
The buoyancy of change
Overall, for me, it has been terrific to hear these topics being discussed as critical components of a healthy and successful business, as opposed to a “nice to have” element. To see the conversation shift away from merely an HR discussion to a business imperative reflects the progress and commitment we have made toward creating the right environment and sustaining the right mindset. I am truly honored and proud to be among the optimists involved in helping these programs grow from seeds of ideas to where they are today.
This post was originally published by Anka on LinkedIn, and was republished with permission.