Developing policies and practices to ensure transgender inclusion


According to Stonewall’s Global Guide ‘Trans Inclusion in the Workplace’: ‘Unique challenges exist for transgender employees in workplaces throughout the world. These range from a lack of awareness and inclusive recruitment processes (…) to inadequate support for the transition and a failure to put processes and policies in place to prevent discrimination at work’.

What did you want to achieve?

In 2005, SAP supported the first colleagues to transition within the company. Since then, the company has been developing policies and practices to ensure transgender inclusion.

What did you do?

In 2008, SAP developed the Gender Transition Guidelines as a cooperation between the SAP Global Diversity & Inclusion Office, SAP Global HR Compliance Office, SAP Health & Well-Being and Pride@ SAP, the LGBT+ and ally employee network. These guidelines assist transgender employees, their managers, colleagues and additional business partners such as HR through the gender transition process. They also inform SAP employees of concepts related to gender identity and expression.

Some of the topics covered include references to notification of gender transition, appearance standards, restroom access and health facilities, right to privacy and confidentiality, name change and pronoun use, leave and medical benefits, as well as an FAQ section and additional external resources.

Additionally, several SAP Global Policies include explicit reference to transgender people like the Non-Discrimination Policy, the Human Rights Commitment Statement and the Supplier Code of Conduct. The SAP Writing Style guidelines cover the use of gender-neutral language. The transgender community is also addressed in the module for LGBT inclusion of the SAP I&D online training ‘Focus on Insight’, available for all employees globally.

SAP external focus is to also advocate to eradicate transgender legal discrimination. SAP has done so by being one of the first 15 companies to pledge their support to the United Nations’ Global LGBT Standards of Conduct for Businesses and by joining the Human Rights Campaign ‘Business Coalition for the Equality Act’.

What are the results so far?

As of 2020, SAP has been using the Gender Transition Guidelines to support colleagues in countries such as Germany, the US, Brazil, the Philippines and Australia. SAP software has also been leveraged in these processes, having now documented the different process steps and relevant solution functionality like gender options.

In the US and Canada, SAP also offers employees and their dependants enhanced, trans-inclusive healthcare packages. Pride@SAP leaders have launched dedicated transgender employment programmes in Brazil and Argentina.

SAP has been recognised as a top global employer for LGBT inclusion by organisations such as Stonewall and Workplace Pride, among others.

What have you learned?

We have learned the importance of working with external organisations to deliver team enablement workshops in support of transitioning colleagues and how it can bring excellent results.