FAIR PAY MANAGEMENT CIRCLE ON JUNE 27, 2019 AT SAP IN WALLDORF
Just in time for the World Cup, SAP welcomed the FPI at a Fair Pay Management Circle once again, and, just like in sports, the topics these transparency pioneers covered had to do with fairness and emotions.
SAP founder Dietmar Hopp would often say, “A company will only do well when its employees are doing well.” “And that's what we're still doing today," exclaims Margret Klein-Magar (top left in the picture), as she opened the Circle in SAP's Digital Boardroom. 29 guests who hail from business, academia, and politics came to Walldorf to discuss how transparency will pave the way toward wage justice for all. SAP is already a model company in many ways; their supervisory board has recently reached gender parity, and Klein-Magar is deputy chairperson.
50-50 Supervisory Board
This fact alone shows the extent to which SAP is committed to equality and diversity at all levels. The Walldorf headquarters operate extremely pragmatically, offering take-home meals for employees who don’t have time to cook dinner, flexible work schedules, and advertising part-time positions. What’s more, the software company consists of proven pioneers in implementing pay transparency.
Existing pay gaps are to be closed not only in Germany, but all over the world. Pay equity means the respective laws are observed and provide a variable that is very easily measurable. Pay equality, on the other hand, refers to the elimination of discrimination, and must be reviewed again and again. From the point of view of the workforce, fairness is just one step further. "As with soccer, a clear set of rules is needed for salaries," says one of the remuneration experts present. "And just like soccer, it's all about emotions. Fairness is always subjective.” It would be perceived as extremely unfair if everyone received the same salary and performance did not count. Conversely, everyone is satisfied with differences in pay, just as long as this can be well justified.
Fairness is always subjective
SAP consistently puts the “Employee Experience” first, and staff are considered to be customers who have chosen a company. As such, the firm complies with their desires and individuates their salary. Money is typically most important when starting an income; only later does time become a more significant factor.
Transparency is a crucial step toward fair pay, as the panel agrees, but it is not a panacea all on its own. Fairness is always perceived subjectively, so there is equally the necessity for objective criteria, rules that are made known to everyone and that apply to all.
SAP technology meets FPI expertise
A dashboard will soon don the striped shirt of a referee – a team at SAP is currently working on a tool which will provide straightforward and impartial assessment with support and expertise from the FPI. The main concept is to check company data to determine whether the firm is meeting the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. The prototype is of course Goal 8.5, equal pay for equal work or work of equal value.
The matrix is presented here in Walldorf for the first time – not as a premiere, but as a dress rehearsal. IT experts Laurent Douek and Steffen Schoener demonstrate how the software will support companies in the rapid implementation of fair pay. It's no coincidence that this goal is the starting point, and not just because 8.5 is precisely midway between 1 and 17. Money is the key to equality. And equality is the key to sustainable development on a global basis.
Politics in demand
Experts agree that this undertaking lies not only on the shoulders of individual companies, but of society and politics as well. “The commitment many firms have demonstrated is wonderful, but they cannot meet these challenges on their own. We need a change in our societal thinking," says diversity expert Annika von Redwitz, who has a Swedish background. She contends, "Politicians need to act quickly. Germany is lagging far behind other countries when it comes to equality. More and more skilled workers are migrating to Scandinavia. Finding a work-life balance is so much easier there!”
When it comes to women in leadership, host and board member Magret Klein-Magar knows from her own experience what political parameters can achieve. "We used to say: 'We are absolutely convinced that more women would be better on the board, but we simply can't find any women'. And lo and behold, since the quota was introduced, we’ve found them.”
(By the way, so that there is no misunderstanding: We have nothing to do with the fact that both football teams, the men in 2018 and the women in 2019, were eliminated shortly after our visits to Walldorf!)
As at every Fair Pay Management Circle participation was exclusively by personal invitation; the event itself was subject to Chatham House Rules – the best prerequisite for an open and constructive dialogue. We therefore relay nothing that would allow it to be traced back to the people involved or guests, or to their companies or organisations – unless they have explicitly agreed to be identified.
Pictured above from left to right: Margret Klein-Magar, Bärbel Ostertag, Cawa Younosi and Henrike von Platen
FPI - What we do
Why does the gender pay gap prove so intractable? What is standing in the way of fair pay for all? What do companies need to do in order to put sustainable pay strategies into practice?
Knowing about the pay gap and being willing to rid the world of the unjust state of affairs are evidently not enough to actually ensure fair pay. It is right here ...