The Business of Inclusion

We strive to create an environment that helps Microsoft capitalize on the diversity of our people and the inclusion of ideas and solutions to meet the needs of our increasingly global and diverse customer base.

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Our Global Diversity & Inclusion: Staying aligned with Microsoft’s vision

Microsoft's vision

Microsoft is the productivity and platform company for the mobile-first and cloud-first world. We will reinvent productivity to empower every person and every organization on the planet to do more and achieve more.

Our strategy

Maximize the business impact of global diversity and inclusion to empower our people, transform our culture and delight our customers.

Areas where we focus

  • Culture

  • Customers

Microsoft actively seeks to foster greater levels of diversity in our workforce and in our pipeline of future leaders. We are always looking for the best and brightest talent and pride ourselves on our individuality - inviting candidates to come as they are and do what they love. The common thread that attracts us to candidates is their passion for their work and the desire to make an impact in their careers, in the community, and on the world.

Some of the things we are doing to recruit top diverse talent include:

  • Recruiting executive talent: Our Executive Recruiting Team has a strategic and proactive focus on prospecting diverse talent.
  • Recognizing and encouraging technical women: Since 2001, Microsoft has been one of the largest supporters of the Anita Borg Institute, sponsoring awards and scholarships to enable deserving students to attend the Grace Hopper conference, the largest for technical women.
  • Promoting the study of computer science at universities: In support of IT education and opportunities for women and minority students and faculty, we have formed partnerships with academic organizations, including traditionally female schools, Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions to develop a strong IT curriculum.
  • Encouraging girls and diverse students to study computing: 
    • We offer our DigiGirlz program and Blacks at Microsoft Minority Student Day aim to expose diverse high school students to the high-tech work world. (DigiGirlz is one of Microsoft's signature programs started in 2000, the program has grown to over 45 Microsoft locations both domestically and abroad; 16 countries hosts these sessions.)
    • Our high school summer internship program in Redmond, Washington partners with IGNITE, DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology), Technology Access Foundation, and SciTechGirls in Europe.
  • Recruiting the best and the brightest: Microsoft recruiters and business leaders recruit at many conferences and events throughout the year, including Grace Hopper, Tapia, National Society of Black MBAs, National Society of Hispanic MBAs, Out and Equal, Recruit Military Career Expo and others.
  • Celebrating what technology can do to empower people:Steve Gleason, a former pro football player who is living with ALS,  uses a Surface Pro running Tobii's eye-tracking technology  to speak. The passion that we have for technology and what it can do to change lives is a hallmark of our Microsoft values.

Microsoft recognizes that diversity gains will not be sustained unless the work environment promotes behaviors that encourage new ways of problem-solving and rewards diversity of thought. We foster a culture of inclusive behaviors by doing the following:

  • Providing Microsoft leaders with cultural competency training and strategies for managing global diversity and inclusion best practices.
  • Offering a robust portfolio of diversity and inclusion training courses for all levels of employees and leaders around the world. Key courses include Managing Inclusion™, Building an Inclusive Culture: Understanding Conscious and Unconscious Bias, CulturalDexterity™ and Consulting for Diversity Hiring developed specifically for our international HR and staffing teams focused on gender diversity.
  • Providing deep focus on key development areas to enable individuals and managers to address and identify needs in relation to the careers of women and minorities through the Women's & Minority Career Framework and our Wired for Success series for women & minorities.
  • Offering flexible work arrangements, programs, resources, and tools to help employees achieve greater work life balance. These resources range from extensive resource and referral services to generous maternity and paternity leave policies.
  • Supporting LGBT Equality: For more than 25 years, Microsoft has supported gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender employees and policies. We were one of the first Fortune 500 companies in the world to offer domestic partner benefits for Microsoft LGBT employees. Since 2005, Microsoft achieved a 100 percent score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC) 2014 Corporate Equality Index (CEI). The CEI provides an in-depth analysis and rating of corporate policies and practices related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees.
  • Advancing women through our global outreach and advertising by celebrating the heroic women through a powerful Bing video and ad campaign. highlighting the bravery and courage of women from all walks of life, who broke barriers and changed the world.

Microsoft believes that building the best software means incorporating the talents of our varied workforce into our products, and recognizing the needs and priorities of our diverse suppliers, customers, and partner base.

We are committed to supplier diversity, which includes spending more than US$ 2 billion with certified and highly trained businesses that are minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned businesses, and owned by persons with disabilities.

Product innovation is at the heart of Microsoft's work.

We strive to deliver technology innovation through devices and services that inspire people of all ages and abilities as well as eliminate barriers, improve lives, and strengthen communities.

  • We showed the world how we are using technology to drive inclusive connections, like bringing together best friends Sarah and Paige  after an eight-year Skype friendship. Both girls were born with one arm, and each wanted to find a friend who could understand and share in their unique experience.
  • The hugely innovative Kinect Sign Language Translator eliminates communication barriers by enabling speech-to-sign language translation capability - a brainchild of one of the young teams from Microsoft's global Imagine Cup premier student technology competition.
  • A Microsoft Consulting Services team, together with Microsoft colleagues in Bing, Microsoft Research, and Developer and Platform Evangelism, partnered with the UK nonprofit organization, Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, to  imagine how technology might transform the lives of people with visual impairments. The 3-D Soundscape uses information from Bing and smart tags to help people navigate on their own by following an audio beacon that emanates from their destination.
  • We launched another  Microsoft scholarship  that empowers and enables high school students with disabilities to go to college, realize the impact technology has on the world, and target a career in the technology industry. Our goal is to increase the pool of persons living with a disability enrolling in higher education and, in the long term, decrease the unemployment rate for this demographic.
  • Our Imagine Cup winners are using  Kinect for Windows to design a cart to free the hands of a person in a wheelchair, using Kinect voice recognition and motion detection to help autistic children learn through play and movement, and helping children who have dyslexia with alphabet identification and other skills while tracking behavioral patterns.

Download PDF to learn more about history of diversity.

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