A Follow Up to a Beyond Words Community Discussion
Beyond Words is a 1000 Cuts community discussion series designed to push company driven commitments around discrimination and injustice beyond words. The discussion is broadcast in front of a live audience, who have an opportunity to submit questions for the guest.
To ensure that the voice of the community is heard, and collective concerns are addressed, each guest has the opportunity to respond to all submitted question after the event. The questions and answers are published here, as a follow up.
Firstly, how is Microsoft ensuring that newer initiatives designed to create a more diverse corporate culture: (Global Skills, new employee recruiting, Microsoft Learn, etc,) are being seen by the communities of color who need them most?
JEFF SANDQUIST: We are deepening our engagements with HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities) not just for recruiting but also how we can partner with them. We currently have an open position for someone who is interested in helping.
With that said we know that there is more work to be done here and we are continuously looking for new ways to reach communities of color.
How are you creating space at Microsoft to both, improve company culture, and protect diversity? Are there internal campaigns or teams designed to better educate employees about discrimination and create space for employees of color to feel safe speaking about issues of discrimination?
JEFF SANDQUIST: There are a few things that we are doing.
A few years ago Microsoft started to be more intentional about our corporate culture and part of that was becoming a learn it all culture which is more open to acknowledging areas where we can get better and then driving to do better. As part of this we have also encouraged people to bring their authentic self to work everyday. This tone has been set from our CEO and the company’s leadership team.
Also, more formally, we have various trainings both mandatory and optional for managers and individual contributors that focus on unconscious bias, allyship, and more.
For community specific safe spaces we have employee affinity groups. Blacks at Microsoft is one of the larger ones and also the oldest affinity group at Microsoft.
Beyond Words is a 1000 Cuts event series, broadcasted in front of a live audience, designed to push company driven commitments around discrimination and injustice beyond words.
If your company is interested in supporting our anti-discrimination movement, please shoot us a message and we'll get things moving.