To ‘Belong’, we must first ‘get along’
An engineer by profession, I joined SAP as a Quality Associate, eventually switched over to the role of a Product Specialist, I’ve been fortunate to work on and some of the best solutions to provide them with the best experiences. While that was fulfilling, I always desired to do more – to be able to touch and influence the lives of as many people as I could. I found a way to turn my desire into measure-able activity and sprung to action by contributing my time towards the various Employee Network Groups (ENGs) that drive several initiatives and programs at SAP. These engagements led to the publication of my first thought leadership paper titled ‘Unlock The Power Of Cross-Generational Inclusion‘ co-authored with Annice Joseph and Chandramohan Sankaran. There are numerous insights in the paper that every individual can benefit from.
After my initial assimilation to the organization, I became aware of SAP’s culture of employee independence of being the best versions of oneself at the workplace and took my first step towards formally contributing to SAP’s Diversity & Inclusion effort by contributing as the Global Early Talent Ambassador from SAP Labs India. Within weeks, I was leading the charter for the Early Talent India network, designing and executing events like breakout sessions on development related tips and tricks, fireside chats with leaders, escape room challenges, coding challenges and organizing the Early Talent Summits. With time and the flexibility to work cross-functions, I was able to take on the Lead role for Inclusive Culture Programs for SAP Diversity & Inclusion India chapter and also contribute as the Regional coordinator (APJ) for the Global Early Talent Experience team. And of course the awesome application-to-nomination-to-award experience in winning the Employee Network Award (Community Business, 2020 D&I in India Best Practice Awards).
One of the focuses of my work has always been to bring the topic of cross-generational intelligence in the workforce to the table. When it comes to calling out unintentional exclusions, we are all well aware and even active in recognizing gender, cultural, and identity-related biases. But, when it comes to generational or age-related biases, we often overlook them as a casual comment or brush them off as harmless humor. When working at a place like SAP where we are a mix of cross-functional, multi-generational and diverse talent, we need to be mindful make vigilant efforts to recognize them and work towards being a better colleague and a human being who is more inclusive and emphatic. We need to imagine an experience not our own but of someone who may have triggers attributed to what we say and be accepting of our colleagues regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, culture, identity, and age. When we don’t necessarily see the need to agree to what we hear and see, we should be open to starting a conversation and understanding each other better by suspending judgment, and practice asking, not assuming. This helps us build our humility and appreciate the uniqueness of the people we work with at our workplaces. The SAP Labs India Champions Circle‘s recognition towards my efforts, accelerated my journey and helped me reach out to more people with the message of inclusion.
When COVID-19 disrupted the way the world functioned, organizations quickly had to pivot to remote working to ensure business continuity. Thanks to all the employees connecting remotely and leaders quickly adapting to the remote operations. SAP’s flexibility made that switch seem seamless and that reflected the ‘trust’ the company has in its employees. Together, we continue to Run Better. As the pandemic continued to impact the people in many ways, it made the people around the world emerge as a stronger digital community. We saw a positive trend towards generational empathy. Generation Z and millennials quickly adopted the role of coaches to enable their parents, professors, friends, and colleagues to get on with the new normal with the sparks of agile collaboration all around fueling the fire of cross-generational integration.
Working with Annice and Chandra with the shared passion of transcending inclusion to belongingness has been an enriching journey. They truly inspire me to be the best version of myself. This paper is a testament to the power of people coming together for a purpose, the culminations of voices of leaders, experts, trainers, mentors and employees from across the board and geographies.
September 2021 marked my five years with SAP. From all the countless engagements that I was able to participate, drive and learn from, I can proudly say I’m encouraged and empowered to bring my most authentic self to work, which helps me create the highest impact. ‘Inclusion for all’ has been SAP’s mantra and it resonates well with my personal mantra of ‘vasudhaiva kutumbakam’ (The World is One Family) – and we at SAP truly feel like part of the global family.
|Do share your inputs, comments, and experience of this paper – https://www.sap.com/documents/2021/11/e297616d-067e-0010-bca6-c68f7e60039b.html|