Why Diversity @ Workplace Matters
When you enter the gates of SAP, you walk into an ecosystem with a label. A label that cuts across bias of any kind. The SAPien label unifies us all irrespective of our race, abilities, economic strata, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender-identity etc. In fact, we can go as far as to say that it unifies all Homo SAPiens. Quite pun-ny isn’t it?
Reputed organizations and various credible sources such as McKinsey & Co and Indian Institute of Managements have done countless studies that show organizations that embrace diversity are more effective, profitable and successful. However, this is a bird’s eye view that cannot be truly realized at an individual’s level. Let’s park what these studies tell us and investigate how diversity can enhance an individual.
Imagine yourself to be stuck on a problem. Your customers are waiting for a solution all the while piling on the pressure on your management which has a trickle-down effect on you. You have already spent several sleepless nights but are unable to make any headway.
Right when you feel doom is near a new colleague joins your team. You start talking with this person. Through your conversation, you navigate through the typical social topics of discussion and somehow share the details about the issue you’re facing. Your colleague tells you that they faced this exact issue in their previous team and offers to help.
Isn’t this just a dandy situation? This new colleague comes in like an angel and helps you out in a time of distress. All because you were able to find some common ground to initiate and hold a conversation with this person. Now let’s look at the same scenario with a different lens. In the scenario discussed above, you may notice that two sets of words are highlighted – a new colleague; and You start talking with this person. Now when the argument said colleague where did your brain take you? Were you thinking of a person with specific characteristics? How did you initiate a conversation with this person?
Imagine if your new colleague represented a community against which you may harbor an unintentional bias. Such a scenario may have stopped you from engaging in a conversation with this person, depriving you of an opportunity to resolve the issue that was, at that moment, plaguing your life. As an exercise, re-imagine this scenario by attributing different characteristics to your colleague. What would you do if your colleague was of a different gender? What would you do if your colleague was differently abled? What would you do if your colleague cross-dressed?
Here comes the crux of the matter – your bias could be anything, but as long as you can learn to look past it, you are building a healthier working environment that directly benefits you. In an Industry that is extremely harsh on those who are unwilling to learn, we are already equipped with the necessary tools. All we need to do is put those tools to use. To learn you only ought to be honest with yourself.
Both seed and deed are equally important. The idea of an inclusive workplace is wonderful indeed, but to realize it, all SAPiens must embrace this culture and if you need a little incentive to motivate yourself, you only need to think of how such a vibrant culture would benefit you. When each one of us exudes such openness, we fill SAP’s environment with infectious energy. Energy that would attract best people who not only accelerate SAP’s vision to help the world run better but do so by contributing to a culture which is open to all; a culture that allows people to bring everything they are and become everything they want”.
“A lot of different flowers make a bouquet.”