Key Growth Strategies

Microsoft's Global Diversity & Inclusion strategy is a fundamental link in our business priorities. We work with senior executives from various business groups and corporate functions across the company to drive our goal of market leadership through diversity excellence.

The pillars of our global diversity and inclusion strategy are:

Representation: Building a Pipeline of Future Leaders

  • Microsoft focuses on building our employee pipeline, while actively recruiting and hiring the world's top talent from all groups within our society. We use a comprehensive approach to systematically execute recruiting, retention, and leadership development throughout the organization—at all key functional departments and on a global scale.

  • Microsoft actively seeks to foster greater levels of diversity in our workforce and in our pipeline of future leaders by partnering with our outreach partners (which include academic institutions, professional organizations, and national advocacy groups) offering scholarships and youth programs to encourage the study of technology and science. The company works with its senior executive leadership team to ensure that diversity and inclusive best practices are deeply embedded throughout our work environment. We know that this approach provides a solid foundation to creating a highly engaged workforce with a shared purpose of achieving the Microsoft mission.

  • Microsoft focuses on diversity recruiting by maintaining relationships with schools and professional organizations. These organizations include the National Society of Hispanic MBAs, Society of Women Engineers, National Black MBAs, American Indian Science and Engineer Society, American Association of People with Disabilities, Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network—and more.

  • Microsoft offers scholarships to foster a more diverse mix of future talent among women, minorities, and students with disabilities in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. In addition, the Employee Resource Groups, such as Blacks at Microsoft offer scholarships for Black/African Americans who are high-school seniors.

  • We also offer scholastic scholarships at the graduate-level through various groups. Through the Microsoft Explore program, Microsoft offers a wide range of internships in software/hardware development, user experience, legal, human resources, information technology, sales, marketing, finance, and technical consulting/services.

  • Microsoft also offers several programs that provide students in grades K–12 with opportunities to interact with today's technology and learn about careers in this industry. These programs include Blacks At Microsoft Minority Student Day (BMSD), the worldwide Microsoft DigiGirlz Technology Programs, the Microsoft High School Internship Program and many others.

Inclusion: Creating Engagement in the Work Environment

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 comprehensive diversity and inclusion leadership and development program to ensure employees have the skills and knowledge to excel in their responsibilities. An innovative learning platform offers courses, workshops, online solutions and enhanced content to help participants in their diversity and inclusion learning journey. Employees are able to receive the training that they need on-demand, at their convenience, and from the comfort of their office or home. This interactive learning environment also offers participants an online area to discuss the training courses, ask questions, and learn from others.

  • 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.

  • Offering employees a Women’s Professional Development Series that gathers employees – both men and women - to support women’s initiatives, and get them thinking about how to support these efforts in their day-to-day jobs. The series includes one of the biggest women’s global conferences in the industry, the Microsoft Women's Leadership and Development Conference, which attracts more than 4,500 employees both virtually and in-person. Other elements of this program include a speaker series, networking opportunities and ongoing webcasts.

  • Supporting Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and Employee Networks (ENs), which provide cultural awareness and social networking and are linked to the overall business goals of Microsoft. ERG and EN members voluntarily work together and serve as internal resources to ensure that diverse perspectives are included in business operations, marketing, and product development activities. These organizations provide career development, support, networking opportunities, mentoring, community participation, product input, and assistance in activities that promote cultural awareness. Their programs include speaker series, scholarship programs, community service, development conferences, and heritage celebrations.

Innovation: Driving Market Excellence

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 customer, supplier, and partner base. We are committed to supplier diversity, which includes working with the following certified and highly trained businesses:

  • Minority-owned, women-owned, and veteran-owned businesses
  • Businesses owned by persons with disabilities
  • Small businesses that want to purchase competitively priced, high-quality goods and services from Microsoft

In 2009, Microsoft reached a major milestone by spending more than US$1 billion with more than 1,255 suppliers that are woman-owned, minority-owned, and veteran-owned. This amount has increased by more than 250 percent in the past few years. Exceeding $1 billion dollars is a significant milestone for Microsoft as it joins approximately a dozen other U.S. corporations that spend a similar amount with such businesses. To recognize this achievement, Microsoft has been named as a member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable, an organization that was created in 2001 to recognize and celebrate corporations that achieved spending of at least $1 billion with diverse suppliers.

Product innovation is at the heart of Microsoft’s work. Some examples of accessibility technology innovation include the following:

  • Adaptive Systems and Interaction research pursues automated reasoning, adaptation, and human-computer interaction. Ongoing work in this area includes extending mouse and keyboard with touch sensors, enabling systems to sense contact from the user's hands.
  • Speech Technology researchers are working to improve spoken language technologies. They are interested not only in creating state-of-the-art spoken language components, but also in how these disparate components can come together with other modes of human-computer interaction to form a unified, consistent computing environment.
  • Natural Language Processing researchers are working to design and build software that will analyze, understand, and generate languages that humans use naturally, so that eventually you will be able to address your computer as though you were addressing another person.