#7: Nina Strassner, Head of Diversity & Inclusion at SAP Germany
As a HR leader whose influence creates social change, what do you feel has been your most impactful action to date?
The basis of an inclusive environment, that creates equal opportunity for everyone, is trust. I have helped to create an atmosphere where people trust that they can be their true self; that they can talk openly at work about what they’re struggling with. I compare this atmosphere to life in a family; everyone trusts – even though everyone is not always happy – you are to safe to come as you are and who you are, trust that you can share your background, your worries and joys, and be respected.
At the moment, in your industry, what do you think is the most exciting opportunity for HR to change the world?‘Disruption’ has been a buzz word for the last few years, ‘disrupting structures’. At the moment we have an incredible opportunity to evaluate and change outdated structures. Due to the pandemic, everyone is destabilised; in this context, if we listen, have trust and are brave, we have the ingredients to disrupt.
Which particular areas of social and environmental injustice are you most passionate about, and see that your role gives you the chance to create change?
I’m passionate that everyone must be able to bring their true self to work; inclusive workplaces have multiple benefits for society. My role enables me to foster a culture of belonging. During the pandemic, we’ve seen more of people’s private lives – for example dogs and children running in to video meetings. We see how people are really living and are encouraged to learn more about their background; their CV seems totally different in this light. At SAP we’ve put effort in to keeping connected. We have had many events that we call ‘distanced socialising’, for examples virtual escape rooms and games nights. Keeping socially connected during the pandemic has created the chance to build trust and be yourself at work in new ways, all of which contributes to an inclusive workplace.
How have you best used your position to create a more equitable and inclusive environment in ways that deliver your business goals?
Diversity is a matter of innovation; innovation drives our business. One of my best impacts is that no one questions this anymore; no one questions the necessity of diversity. We only debate how best to achieve it.
What is the one specific action you would like to see all HR Leaders take to make a positive change for the world?
I’d like every HR Leader to always ask themselves and of others: ‘have you asked?’ Everyone does surveys, pulse checks, but is there really listening? You have to take time to listen; you have to double click on the answer.