Dominika Warchol Hann is principal of value advisory at SAP Canada.
What is SAP Canada and what does it do?
Warchol Hann: SAP is the global market leader in enterprise application software, helping companies of all sizes and in all industries run at their best. In Canada, SAP serves more than 16,900 businesses in 25 industries, and employs more than 3,400 people across our sites in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver.
SAP helps give people and organizations deep business insight and fosters collaboration that helps them stay ahead of their competition with our end-to-end suite of applications and services. We simplify technology for companies so they can consume our software the way they want – without disruption.
With a global network of customers, partners, employees and thought leaders, SAP helps the world run better and improves people’s lives.
Why are you supportive of Canada’s Workforce Choice Awards?
Warchol Hann: I believe the inaugural Canada’s Workforce Choice Awards will create recognition opportunities for organizations across all industries and play an important role in setting new standards for the future of workplaces across the country.
Organizations struggle to determine what the future of work means for them and their workforce. Many of the same principles that the presenting sponsor of Canada’s Workforce Choice Awards, BOWEN Group, have been championing for years continue to be the key to future organizational success. Whether speaking on diversity and inclusion, or innovation, it all helps define sustainable advantage.
Additionally, BOWEN Group and Canada’s Workforce Choice Awards are quite unique in recognizing the importance of the contingent workforce as a component of human resource’s role in workforce management. We know that the most critical workers within an organization might not be their employees, so it is incredibly heartening to see the full workforce included as part of these awards, especially since over 35 per cent of Canada’s workforce is projected to be contingent in the coming years.
I hope the awards raise the profile of some very real activities that organizations are implementing to address questions that many employers in Canada and, quite frankly, the world are struggling with. Whether it’s innovative hiring programs, new ways of enabling talent to progress and to grow their careers, or creating an environment that enables diversity of thought, all of these are critical pillars to defining future organizational success.
What can we do to close the wage gap in the workforce?
Warchol Hann: I wish there was a single solution! As with all complex societal problems, the more we peel it back, the more we see that a multi-factorial approach is needed.
More and more research is showing that a large component of the wage gap stems from the disproportionate burden that women carry in activities related to raising a family and domestic tasks. So what can employers do to address this?
Flexible work arrangements and more personal leave are good solutions to keep women working, but they don’t encourage advancement. A woman’s attention forever seems divided. Until society sees both fathers and mothers as equal partners in domestic duties and companies provide similar parental benefits to both, we will likely continue to see the gap.
Secondly, women and girls get a great deal of coaching, but less sponsorship than men. Initiatives that focus on creating workforce champions for women are key. At SAP, we have a women’s network; the women who are part of that network are very keen on linking women to others across the organization, keeping each other accountable, and championing each other whenever an opportunity comes up.
Why is it important for business to embrace diversity and how do they do it?
Warchol Hann: We need to be more diverse when thinking about diversity! It isn’t just representation (although that is a part of it), it’s also about different ways of thinking. I spent a number of years in consulting, and we were very guilty of hiring the same person template, they just sometimes came in different packaging.
Embracing diversity is about being comfortable in being uncomfortable. Diverse individuals don’t always fit into the culture of an organization. So if you have an employee whose approach to addressing their objectives is different and uncomfortable but delivers results, then they may be the little piece of sand that creates a pearl of innovation.
As for how to use it and embrace that diversity, it’s about your corporate vision, your ‘why.’ Innovation thrives in diverse groups. If you want to innovate, you already know that you need to be uncomfortable, so you’re predisposed to enabling diversity. If you are more aligned to operational excellence and procedural homogeneity, diversity will be – by definition – harder to manage.
Why is it important that we encourage innovation in business?
Warchol Hann: There are two ways to generate value in business, and both are important: you can take out costs to become more efficient; and you can create new venues of generating value.
Eventually, even the most efficient and streamlined processes become the mainstay of industry, and are no longer sufficient to differentiate and to grow market share.
Although innovation has become a buzzword, the process of creating new value-generating activities is not a ‘nice to have,’ it’s a necessity for the survival of the business in the long term.