For Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) leader Margot Goodson, embedding strong diversity practices in the workforce isn’t about the feel-good factor. It’s about creating better outcomes, both for people and the bottom line.
DE&I has become a critical issue, driving important conversations around the world. And it’s in the workplace—where organisations have the power to take immediate action—that the impact can be most felt.
At organisations such as SAP, where Goodson is VP and Head of Diversity and Inclusion, North America, strong DE&I practices are no longer optional. She argues that it's not enough to just offer ‘training’; DE&I must become a core component of an organisation’s cultural DNA.
“The myriad of reasons for inclusivity and the benefits it brings to the workplace culture and business outcomes are so exponential, just understanding them is part of it, because sometimes people see DE&I as a moral challenge—and it’s not, it’s a business challenge. People see it as a ‘nice thing to do’ and it’s not—it’s a necessity,” Goodson says.
SAP, a global leader in enterprise application software, employs more than 100,000 people of 150 nationalities, encompassing myriad differences in culture, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and physical ability.
Although SAP had made progress in DE&I, Goodson cites key benefits in its decision to take it further: “By embedding diversity and inclusion into their DNA, companies can experience benefits including increased employee engagement, higher productivity and innovation, better customer satisfaction, and stronger financial results,” she says.
SAP first worked with Deloitte’s Human Capital practice two years ago to help develop its DE&I initiatives. The two companies were already connected through their global alliance delivering technology solutions to clients, and SAP had been impressed with Deloitte’s track record of implementing DE&I change at scale in its own workforce.
Some SAP leaders, including Goodson, had previously attended sessions featuring Deloitte’s proprietary DE&I methodology, the Six Signature Traits of Inclusive Leadership. Goodson’s team launched a major programme to deliver a customised version to more than 900 members of SAP’s senior management team in North America (USA and Canada).
Deloitte’s project lead, Charles Phillips, a U.S. managing director in Consulting, Human Capital, says the Six Traits (see sidebar) have demonstrable value. “Getting these traits right is the key, and as an inclusive leader, your workplace will be more connected, you’ll bring your authentic self to work, and you’ll optimise your role, setting an example for your people and your clients” he says.
All ‘6Cs’, which are delivered through workshop sessions, are vital pieces in the diversity solution. But Goodson felt two of them were most salient: “The biggest ones were around Cultural Intelligence and Cognisance. They are about what we say and do, and the impact that has is very important.”
These were the key objectives for participants:
- Understand Deloitte’s Six Signature Traits of Inclusive Leadership
- Grow in awareness of non-inclusive behaviors and language
- Identify practical tips for supporting the SAP workforce
- Commit to practicing the Six Signature Traits on an ongoing basis