In the last few years, the Indian tech industry has struggled to build a socially equitable workplace. However, most global enterprises today are encouraging overall inclusive work culture. In the recently held #WhatIndustryWants webinar, Anjana Chiramel, Sr. Human Resources Manager, GSMO India, Microsoft, discussed what diversity and inclusion look like in the tech industry empowered by deep tech. Watch!
An HR professional with a stellar career, Anjana has spent over 14 years spanning the entire gamut of Human Resources predominantly focusing on Business Partnering, Diversity & Inclusion, Talent Acquisition and Development, Employee Engagement, Leadership Effectiveness, Campus Relations, Resourcing and Recruitments. Her creative thinking ability and commitment have benefited her organization in helping establish them as a strong employer brand both at campus and among laterals. She has coached and supported over 100 managers across R&D, Sales and Marketing and Operations teams, helping them deliver productivity and create a conducive environment at the workplace. At Microsoft, she serves as a Business HR Partner for GSMO (Global Sales and Marketing Organization), India. In addition, she also has played a vital role in leading Diversity & Inclusion for the business and being the India lead for the persons with disability track of D&I for Microsoft India. Know more Know more
TalentSprint, a National Stock Exchange (NSE) Group Company, brings transformational high-end and deep-tech learning programs to emerging and experienced professionals in partnership with top academic institutions and global corporations. Its patent-pending, AI-powered, digital learning platform enables a perfect blend of high-end academics and industry-leading practitioner experience. Its programs have consistently seen a high engagement rate and customer delight. For more information, visit talentsprint.com
Okay, it's seven o'clock. And I think we can start. Once again, very good evening to each and every one of you. It's a great occasion for us to meet here. It's another what industry one series series that talentsprint has been running almost every month for the past few months and much before that as well. This is an initiative which we in which we try and bring in some very distinguished industry leaders, to touch upon some, some of the most important aspects that are happening in the deep tech world a lot of insights that one can gain from and we look forward to this session also. And we have a very, very special guests for that with us today. I'm very happy to introduce Angela Angela from Microsoft. Hi, Angela.
So Angela, seven, and we already have more than 150. To join, I think we can expect someone to join but you can get started. I'll just take a minute to introduce you to everybody. So HR professional with a stellar career, Angela has spent more than 14 years spanning the entire gamut of HR resources predominantly focusing on business partnering, diversity and inclusion, talent acquisition and development, employee engagement, leadership effectiveness, campus relationships and resourcing requirements. It's a creative thinking and ability and the commitment that has benefited the all the organizations that she has worked with to establish themselves as a very strong employer brand, a both at call for campus freshers as well as laterals. She's coached and supported over 100 managers across r&d, sales and marketing and operations teams, helping them deliver productivity and creative, a conducive environment at the workplace. At Microsoft, a she serves as the business partner HR for GSM, which is the global sales and marketing organization in India. In addition, she has also played a vital role in leading diversity and inclusion for the business and being the India lead for the persons with disability track of the DNI for Microsoft India. So this is a topic on the diversity and Alicia the role of that in the deep tech industry. So very, very interesting topic. And it's something that is very relevant in our current times, we have been seeing some progress, but it's a it's a great opportunity for us to hear it from the leader like engineering now. So that's the moment for us, I will request each one of you to fully utilize this opportunity. All of you have the chat option with you, that through which you can interact with us. You can keep posting your questions, we will have Arjuna take us through a presentation followed by a q&a where we will address all your questions. So I would request you to be patient until the end of the presentation so that we can take the questions. On that note, I would like to hand it over to Angela, Angela, all yours.
Thank you so much with Megan. Well, I didn't know all those things about me as well. But thank you for that amazing introduction. Folks, I'm just a regular corporate worker, if I have to call it that, but someone with a passion for diversity inclusion. I think the journey started for me in writing Nakia where you know, as a, I think Junior management trainee, I was working on a project to sort of help, you know, drive inclusion for women in the r&d workspace. And I think since then the journey has been such an amazing transformation for me, because it does not just help me grow representation or diversity in the organizations I've worked with. But it has really helped me become a better individual, a better human being. And that's just some of the learning I want to share with you today. So I as a person, like Luke mentioned, I like creativity. So I always like to keep it interactive. And no, we will start out with a bit of a quiz. So the first question for all of you and I know there's about 260 of you on the call today. Well, let's see if you can answer this. In which year did Harvard Law School begin to allow women to come as students into their campus? So our law school very prestigious institution and now for more than 100 years? When did women start coming into the campus as students can answer this? And you can take any guesses put down any year that comes to mind? 2008 done for 1950 I saw a 1950 Are there any 70? Fantastic. I'm allowing all of you to answer. Very quickly. I'm going to share it was the year 2000. No, it was 1953. And that's how long back Wow. So 1953 is when they act He opened the doors out more than decades and decades of having men come and study that he opened other school doors for women. But guess what, when the women came there, they didn't have restaurants to go to. So they they had to hold it in until, you know, the college classes over. So that's the challenge that we face at that point of time. 1953 Yes, those of you who Google that are answering correctly now. Next question, how many women CEOs are there amongst the largest 100 largest companies in India? How many of the CEOs of these 100 large companies are women? More than 3040? This is India we're talking about? Samia says 550 70. I'm talking about number of women who are CEOs for India large companies. I like the optimism of this group. It's actually five but these 5% of the largest 100 largest companies in India, have a woman CEO. What percentage of women do you think are there in the workforce in India today? It's definitely more than 5%. That's another topic for you. Okay, I'm on to my next question. What percentage of the world's population would comprise persons with disability and how many of them would be gainfully employed? To 2415 3055? That's like saying half the world is a person with disability. Alright, the correct answer out there is actually over 1 billion people in the world known to have some form of disability, that would make it approximately around was all of you are saying 15%. Fantastic. And truth be told, less than 50% of them are gainfully employed employed, right. And that's the reality that we live in today. In India, that number would be far less given, you know, our economic, our geopolitical and our infrastructure readiness for helping persons with disabilities adapt to the site. What percentage of LGBT employees are out in workplaces? And when I say out, basically, they have declared themselves to be on the spectrum of lgbtqi plus 9640 4060? Yeah. I love the optimism again. So based on a survey from I think couple of years back, it was about 30%. And of the 30%, only 50% are able to selectively disclose which means that they've total you selective set of people, a large portion of this community and not just this community in including many other communities, in fact, world over people are known to do something as called covering, covering is a known stigmatized, you know, attribute of yours, which you don't want to play out because you're worried about the repercussions of it at the workplace. So covering is something that's very common amongst this community. And a lot of them a majority of them in India, especially as well do cover at the workplace. And last question, and this is an easy one, which country has more than 121 languages to 70 mother tongues, over nine recognized religions and six people of six ethnicities. There you go, I wanted to give you an opportunity to get it right. And all of you have got it right. so fantastic. So we are a diverse nation. We are, you know, country that has so much of diversity in us with race, ethnicity, religion, or languages, the way we dress, the way we speak of, you know, our regionalisms, the places that we come from, there's no country more diverse than India. And I think it's amazing that you're we are starting to do and talk so much more about diversity and inclusion in this wonderful country of us. So with that, let me start out by talking about why diversity and inclusion as a topic is important to all of you and many of you are young, so them to will, just starting out on your career. There are billions of people who want to achieve more, right. And when we look at it, this population, each of them comes with a diverse circumstance, the ability, the background, and when you are not including them in the workplace, when you're not allowing them to be their authentic selves. I think they are getting locked out of participating in creating a better world. And our mission and I think our mission, it's Microsoft's mission, but it should be genuinely everybody's mission is to empower everyone. And it will happen in Microsoft and in the tech industry only when everyone is feeling included to come in and contribute. So that's the business case. I have a strong business case I'm going to talk about but let me start out with the story. So you know, when I start About this diversity, inclusion journey in Indian and many in the tech industry, this whole paradigm about talking about diversity in the industry started with the Hey, what's more visible, right gender. So we see a lot of men around that start bringing in more women, because that's the visible diversity. And so it was all about when we started and when I said are more than a decade ago, literally, when you talk about diversity in In fact, to date, I think, to a large part, the tech industry or other companies of the industries in India, talk about diversity firma gender, if they say that, hey, what's your percentage of women that you have representation in? We are in the workforce. This journey, you know, has definitely been one element of it. I remember, you know, even in that front, no, unless managers leaders, when we're having those conversations, when we talk to them, we would like, you know, but you know, you have a diverse set when you have diversity, but there will still be like, why would I, you know, invest in this. And it was a very, you know, difficult task at those at that point of time to actually convince someone as to why you should go out and get more diverse talent. We didn't have the business case, we didn't have a national I was with a telecommunications organization. And I honestly, the r&d teams did not have a rational until one leader that I remember very brave woman. She said that, no, I'm going to go ahead and do an experiment. And she had a product engineering team. So she had and it was 100% men. And she actually brought into diverse, you know, certain I say diverse it was she born into women into the pool. And she looked at what is the productivity of what is changing in the environment in her team. And needless to say, they actually went on to create more product development features, then they've actually done enable the features that they had developed earlier, they were able to sort of make changes in them that were better, inclusive and better designed. And this actually was an eye opener for me, because then even I was just, you know, wordsmithing what I was hearing about diversity and inclusion, but I never really understood it on the ground.
The journey in the tech industry, and then at Microsoft, as well has been like from just being aware of what diversity is to really starting to celebrate it be accountable for, right, we don't want no longer it's about, hey, it's good to do thing, which I think many people will feel that this is something that's a tick in the box, or, yeah, I know, we need to talk about it. But do we really have to make a difference. Today, it's about really calling in the diversity, calling the diverse perspective and make the person feel included. And we are accountable for it. So at Microsoft, I'm going to talk about it later, we all have a priority that each of us have to work towards this. Second one, you start out with acknowledging the differences which are visible. But today, in the tech world, we are actually starting to value those differences. A good example I have is where I had when I joined Microsoft, my manager actually came up to me and I remember this was like, hey, Angela, can you just eyeball this presentation that I'm working on? And she said that and I was like, wow, a senior leaders coming up to me and asking me to eyeball the work that she's doing for some other not related to my poor work. And I was like, curious, and I asked, but how come you're reaching out to me? And she said, You know what, you think differently for me? So I definitely know I'll get a diverse perspective from you when I come to you. And that, to me, was really celebrating and you know, valuing the diversity of thought that I brought into the team view diversity as a narrow conversation. So it's often said, I still remember his first few conversations that I've had with some leaders that when I wanted to talk about LGBTQ s, why is this someone from the community, you want us to talk about it? Why should we do it? Today, it's about really those inclusive behaviors and attitudes to make us a better community, for everyone, and not just a particular conversation or a narrow bit anymore. And like I said, it's not a tick in the box. It's really a lifelong commitment. So it's something that everyone should continue doing. And that's what we're seeing in the tech industry today. Fantastic. So with that, I cannot talk about Microsoft or any, you know, tech industry compensation if I don't talk about the mission. And it's very important to say that your vision and diversity inclusion, how aligned it is. Microsoft's mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. So when you want to achieve or empower every person to achieve more, it literally means every person which means you have to make sure that you as an organization are inclusive, are ensuring that you're designing products that are inclusive, you're designing services that are accessible, and you'll make Making sure that everybody literally has the opportunity for it. I remember meeting up with a wonderful woman, Deepa Nelson when she was in Delhi at that point of time, and she talked about No, she was someone who actually viewed the world. And her window to the world was literally the windows of Microsoft Surface laptop and, and the new operating systems that we have. And the more accessible we've made it over the years, the more she was able to explore the world for herself. I love that story. Today, Julie told me that we are on a great mission over here. So what's the case for diversity and inclusion? You might ask? Right? So what what is the big deal out of it? Just look at those numbers, okay. 40 trillion global spending power women. When I was in the telecommunications industry, I remember this case from Apple, which was the iPhone maker, talking about fact that they had understood that more than 50% of Apple product consumers were women. But the persons designing it in their r&d teams, or the engineering teams, were not 50%, representative of the consumers. That was a case for diversity and inclusion for them. They were like, Hey, we're making these products, we're making these products for our customers. But the persons making the products do not understand the customers when fully so can you start in there, and then then beautiful, if you can see the number of changes that are happening, the kind of spending power that each diverse, you know, I would say, consumer base, or citizenship has, I think that it says is a case. And if you don't represent that, I remember this one person with a disability that we brought in, it was a poor engineering team, and the ability of that person to show empathy to the customers, because of the journey that that individual has had himself. I think, to me, those are the differences that we make, when we bring in someone from a diverse perspective. And through that person journey, I think everyone in the team learned as well, so much more
geopolitical, we are in a very tough well, especially the last one and a half years, maybe more for many of us, where we've been confined to our homes, we've been unable to go out as much as we used to. Technology has been the key for us. But does that change the geopolitical situation it for us, it is a more complex, it's a more global environment, we are able to have Sorry, I'm just gonna say that word, but the YouTube videos that we make, I mean, I have an eight year old at home study making YouTube videos, and adding in them and the fact that, you know, this is the kind of shift we're seeing. And it's such a pace, the rate of change in technology, we are a more global connected organization, or maybe if a planet if I have to call it for lack of better words. And when we use, we're going through so much of change, and there's so much of not acceptance, or even exclusions that are happening, we have to acknowledge that there's also a lot of diversification. But at the same time, there's also a lot of exclusion that's happening around the world around the way can you take a stand and the tech industries and the organizations today are taking a static model. The second one last case, I'm going to make this this is, you know, if anyone has actually there is a lot of neuroscience behind this just actually said that, when you feel excluded when you know the pain of exclusion, when you have not been included in a group, when you've when you've heard a hurtful statement being made about you because of certain attributes of yours. The pain that you experience is very similar to that, for physical pain. The fifth the brain view that in the very the same amygdala of the brain is actually emotionally caught up in the same way that you have physical pain. And it's basically said that six proven ways that exclusion hurts your ability to think your ability to function, your social behaviors that would have a new income increasingly defensive, and I have personally experienced this in my life and I went through a very hurtful exclusion at the workplace. And that me I want to just share, it definitely makes your habits your productivity. And this actually cost money because a non productive employee in the workspace today will cost you money to replace will cost you money in terms of productivity, and therefore it is important on that perspective as well to focus on inclusion. With that I'm going to come to the main theme of diversity and Alicia.
We will pause for questions. I'm told that we will have time for q&a so I'm just going to call out our diverse Avi Right. And this is how an evaluation should look at diversity and inclusion. It's not just about what is apparent the visible aspects, which is, I think, your appearance, your language accent. But there's also inherent stuff like race, ethnicity, age, there's organizational stuff, the businesses, the functions of human resources is one of the most notoriously talked about functions out there. And there is a lot of exclusion or inclusion that happens on that front as well. So you'll be surprised if the tenure that you have most of you are just starting out on your journey, I remember being a management trainee in Idaho fell. As a management trainee, I still remember being asked to sit in a separate location from where I was. And because the group that started out on the journey, I wanted to see what my ability to just absorb that I did feel excluded, I did feel the pain, but at the same time, I did gain a lot because of the position of where I was sitting, I was sitting amongst his marketing folks, and I was sitting amongst folks that I had to work with. And therefore my my location actually helped me make better business calls. Or versus if I was sitting in the closed HR community that I was supposed to. There is benefit for everything. But yes, there are periods when as a fresher, you would feel a moment of exclusion, just by the age or tenure that you have behaviors, how much do we try to control ourselves? How do we see others the biases that we have, it's, it's also the societal upbringings that many of us have had. And you know what, while I see this, and this is about the diversity that we have, across all of personality attributes, one of the exercises that I did, I'm going to give this as a tip to all of you is really sit down and list down your top 10 friends, your closest circle of friends, and start taking out the different attributes, how different Are they from you? Do they have the same religious backgrounds as you they have the same economic status as you? Do they have the same abilities as you when I say abilities? And, you know, are they also temporarily abled bodies? Or are they do they have a disability that they can mark out? I actually did this a couple of years ago, and I was someone who was, you know, very, very vocally advocating for disability and include diversity and inclusion. I was shocked by how non inclusive I was with my own inner circle. my closest friends were all similar to me in the economic background that was similar to me in the schools that we went to, naturally. So I think as human beings, we do flock, towards people of similar backgrounds, people have similar ideologies. But when you want to traverse the journey of diversity and inclusion, you have to open yourselves up to understanding the differences that are out there. So what is Microsoft's core priority? And why I want to really talk about that, we are going to an organization and this is how, in the tech industry, you can make DNI come alive when if made an accountable aspect for everybody is not just some leader talking at the top, but literally each and every one of us. So for example, when someone new joins my team, do I spend that time in mentoring them? Why spend that time? You know, being an onboarding buddy to a person, that person may be like me, they might be completely different from me. So how open Am I to engaging and going out there to teach someone who's different for me, that's, you know, one of the things that I could put out there as in my priority setting with man discuss it with my manager to say that this is what I'm going to do.
How many of us are able to speak up when it matters, right? How many of us feel comfortable, challenging or confronting when those difficult conversations happen in front of us. And I think that's an ability that we have to learn as well. And considering that I will consciously make a choice to learn that ability to be brave in the face of new scenarios is, again, why Microsoft is talking about having this as a core priority in each of our priority settings. And this change is done by all of us that is no longer in the tech industry, you would not think of diversity and inclusion as something that is leader LED, yes, leaders have to walk the talk. But unless each and every person on the ground makes a change, it will not change. So how do we go about doing this? I think Microsoft went about it in a very unique way. I think they've built a lot of neuroscience behind it. And they you know, adopted certain models as a lyrical Mario Jensen. It took the inclusive capabilities of behavior that she had tried and build a model around. These are the capabilities that we want to build in our teams. This is something that every Microsoft employee is expected to practice. And I think that's the amazing journey for us. But it doesn't stop there. Over the years, and this is the last one you see our Microsoft 2020 diversity and inclusion report. They have asked every Microsoft employee to start The journey of learning through an ally ship learning, we define ally ship and ally ship, you know, in the tech industry and for us in Microsoft is defined as, you know, being able to advocate for someone, or a person or, you know, being able to advocate for that person in a way with empathy in a way that is coming from the way the person wants to be advocated for. And the ability to do that is called Alicia. So this journey of no unconscious bias, I think, when I joined, it said, Every employee is expected to do this. And that makes the difference. I'm I'm talking to someone who understands what unconscious biases, has committed to saying that, hey, let me challenge my biases. And let me sort of have that conversation with you in a very non judgmental way. Wow. I mean, I feel super excited to know that I'm in an organization that's allowing me to do that. they've introduced us to concepts like covering ally ship covering is I like I said, You're downplaying certain stigmatized portions of yourself. And a good classical example of that is women choosing not to, you know, when bindi, you're the bindi the form of marriage of more? Yeah, no, I don't think yeah, basically, you know, your status, and you don't want to show that marital status in the workplace. So the woman chooses to not show it that she's sort of seen as more of a corporate figure than a homemaker. That's our form of covering my name, I'm Angela, German, but I'm a Christian. So the very fact that my parents chose the Hindu name, could have been a form of covering that they had adopted many years ago. privilege, the fact that many of us in corporate worlds today have actually grown up, and the younger generation especially have grown up with a life of privilege. And to understand the different privileges that are each of us have, you know, I used to, and I'm going to openly share out here, I think, because I'm a woman, I, you know, I've definitely been the lesser appreciate a gender, especially when you come into the workplace, and you see a lot of men around you and your, your, your, your the smaller minority. I think that, you know, yeah, I need to fight for my rights. And I definitely don't have any privilege. And then later on, I went on to realize, as I was understanding the concept of privilege that while you know, I may not have had certain privileges, because I was a woman, I did have other privileges, my socio economic background, the fact that I was able to study in a cbse school, the fact that my parents paid for my education throughout my life, I didn't have to take loans, there's so much aspects to privilege that each of us have to understand. And this is also something that we invest in teaching, so that, from that journey of understanding the privileges we have, we can work towards someone who's not had the same set of privileges. And we can work towards a bridging that, you know, whatever that gap is in the diversity around us. So, with that, I'm going to move on to taking ally ship, how does it work in the tech industry, right? you've understood the science wants to the capabilities we are building, but do you know that we translate this work into our products. So what we say and what we are working towards is really about take the concept of inclusive design.
When we solve the problem, using our own biases, we tend to be exclusive. And there'll be many, you know, examples, the AI features built by certain recruitment tools that use AI, which was biased, right, so it's sort of screened out naturally screened out a certain demographic because of the inherent bias of the developer who built the AI, or the user set data sets that they used with not sort of had its own inherent biases, as well as products, I can talk about many of them that that were built, which is not inclusive. And at Microsoft, I think we are able to do inclusive design by really committing to the fact that recognize exclusion happens, right? Don't don't have a mean Be aware that if you have a limited data set, if you are going to limit the kind of product you're designing only for one set up, it's going to lead to exclusion. So for one, but extend to many of brilliant examples, you're not even the voice speech to text. Now, I don't know if you How many of you have ever used this feature, the narrator functionality. All of this was designed keeping in mind, you know, persons with disabilities, but the fact is today, everyone uses it. If I'm driving a car and I want to send a quick text message to somebody, I use that feature, right. And then finally, we learn from diversity. This helps make better product. So we talk about accessibility. good story I have to share is only a few I don't know when you're doing like right now I'm using a feature that allows me to put a background picture. But we also have this feature called blur, which there is zoom today. It was initially built out in teams. And it actually came out of a hackathon project. But the idea for the blog feature was actually given by engineer called Shweta, who actually was working with us. And she had a difficulty she's actually deaf. And when she used to communicate over video calls with her parents back in India, in Chennai, been able to do lip reading, because of all the background imagery that was there that used to confuse her during her lip read that she had to do with her parents. And she came up with the idea to have a blow feature built into teams. And today, we all know, this features that pretty much every interface today. That's the story of how inclusive design accessibility is all coming together. So it's, it's from the journey of saying let's be diverse and inclusive, let's take in all ideas. And let's build better products. So I love control, I'm going to, I'm going to be playing with you. But I love everyone saying, I hope you have a design desire to join Microsoft and you know, you belong in the organization. fantastic to see your comments, keep them coming, we will take q&a at the end. And I will also talk about in terms of you know how you can go about if you're looking to have career at Microsoft. Well with that, I'm going to play a small video for you, which is just going to talk about the inclusive design and featuring accessibility that will help you understand the journey better.
Love, however, for gamers with limited mobility, or gamers who don't respect that this controller design might not work best for them.
doorknobs are the worst thing ever invented,
putting on shoes, the cell phones that I use, these are the sorts of things that we don't think about until we have to think about them every day.
I have cerebral palsy, my entire right side, this side of controllers fine. This side doesn't happen. As a platform to gun we're supposed to be the controllers have gotten more sophisticated, and it started to get really frustrating.
We designed the Xbox adaptive controller through feedback from the accessibility community
about rewarding other devices around
the exports of that controller, a gamer can gain with one hand and one foot or one hat and their shoulder or even one foot and their chin and I can change it for them.
Or any forward
is Craig hospital his facility for patients who've either had a spinal cord injury or a traumatic brain injury, and it's placed further rehab. We're here for game night and we're helping new patients
getting back in the game.
our role as occupational therapists is to get people back to doing when the Xbox adaptive controller came along and acted like an Xbox controller it just worked
Oh over there.
On the standard Xbox controllers, hard to press the buttons because you can't really put pressure through my hands. But then with adaptive controller. Using larger joysticks larger buttons are easier to present reach
Cory and his brother Zachary are twins. For for his injuries. Zachary has teamed with him regularly and that was the way that they related to each other as siblings.
Would you love playing Xbox with your at Craig hospital
the Xbox adaptive controller and the copilot feature allows them again to play games together. So there's a huge social component to it.
Yeah, yeah. They can play any game.
I see the competence. First out.
Fantastic. If you have any reactions to that video, do post them in the chat. I would love to hear your comments. I do see a lot of I was going through the questions and I see a lot of questions about hiring and what roles and skills. We are an equal opportunities employer which means that we don't have any barriers depending on age or on your gender or on your, you know, abilities. It's the talent and skill sets that we look for and so if that's the match to what you're looking or what we are trying to hire for do go ahead and apply we have a career portal career microsoft.careers.com. And you can, you know, view all the positions out there. We do do at times some open hacks, I'm told for when we have fresher openings beyond just the colleges that we go to which, which is in an open heart If you open up all India, so do keep a note of that as well and follow us on LinkedIn, follow the community on Twitter, and you will get to see the updates happening on the same. So I hope I was able to answer some of those questions around skilling and know how you can join Microsoft. The last one, I just wanted to share out your you know, we do have employee resource groups. And this is another way the tech industry and it's not just Microsoft, I know many organizations have employee volunteering to sort of dedicate and talk about their communities. I remember when I was in a previous organization, there was women networking organization groups. In Microsoft, we have multiple er G's in India, currently, we have actually not three with four right now. There's er g for women, there's big for the disability community, and there's an ER g for the persons who identify in the lgbtqi plus spectrum. We have recently very recently, in fact, a couple of months ago, you know, started the family vrG. And this is for all the parents and, you know, people are members of families who want to sort of engage and feel especially in this pandemic, I think nothing has been more close in persons and families. I think we've you know, launched the families e RG as well. And there are different networks that people use, you know, that I personally know, for network football, parents of children with special needs, that leverage each other, support each other. And I think that makes it such a more authentic environment to be to be honestly, to know that I'm in a place where I'm not the only one, I have others like me, and you can talk to each other. And we're encouraged to come not just talk to each other, but sort of help others in the organization. Know of us just today, in fact, the disability RG and Microsoft did a session on new persons with visual impairment. It was a masterclass in helping us understand one what's the journey, you know, calling in people from Microsoft who a person with visual impairment, they talking about their stories and the rules. I mean, they're amazing rules is one of the social media marketing manager, the other is Program Manager. And they are kind of talking about the journey. And then after that we build it with one of the accessibility features that persons with visual impairment would be using in our products and tools today, what technology enables them to do, which may be years before the couldn't do. And that's why today they are employable. Today, they are able to come in as engineers and good to come in as marketeers. And I just wanted to pause over there, you know, and ask people out here, how many of you know that there's something called an accessibility checker in your Microsoft PowerPoint, right? After you made your presentation, you can go to the review tab, and you can actually click and then there's something called an accessibility checker that comes up, if you click that, that will tell you how accessible or how friendly the person with disability is your presentation, do all the images in your presentation have something called an alt text, which means that if for example, I have put an image of a woman smiling, sitting on a sofa out here, now if I choose, I can choose to edit the image text. And that's the text that the narrator functionality will read out, or a jaws screen reader will read out and actually tell a person with visual impairment what that image is all about. Today, it's no longer about, hey, you put pictures and unfortunately, blind friends or persons with visual impairment will not be able to see it. No, they can, if you put an all text to the image, which word PowerPoint or an outlook even allows you to do, the person receiving the image will be able to read what an image is about. And how beautiful is that. So with that, just want to leave you the hanging there that this is the how inclusion and diversity an ally ship in the tech industry is leading to beautiful technological innovations, hackathons and lovely designs that are not just working for everyone, but actually work. Now for everyone. So with that, I'm going to say a good, thank you. But I'm open up for q&a. And, you know, it's like you can have me dealt with very specific questions that I should be.
Yeah, thank you so much. Like the final Thank you slide also, which is saying thank you in so many different. Yes. So I think it was a wonderful presentation, a lot of goosebumps throughout the presentation in some of the stats with the narrative about your own journey. I think it's a real experience that We could see. And I, myself have a few thoughts or questions that I would like to discuss with you. When we one common debate that we see when we say something like diversity goals, are there, is it come at the trade off of merit? or anything else? Maybe not the first question to start with, but that's one common debates that people tend to have. But how do we ensure that the diversity goals are met? At the same time, there is an ecosystem created? To make sure that the merits it's coming with merit?
Okay. I think the first thing, the barrier to that is our own mindset, and the mindsets of those that we have to work with. When I started the journey, Microsoft, just to convince leaders that we have to, let's look at a talent pool that's different. And in a different segment. I remember there were a lot of closed minded, there's a lot of beliefs and stereotypes about what is the ability or the performance, talent level talent availability, can we even do the roles that we are doing, we are largely an engineering organization. And I think one of the learnings I had is that if you're able to showcase the business case, if you're able to showcase a talent availability, you're able to showcase and it's not just, I mean, it's easier today with I think a lot of companies having done it, you're able to build a case even stronger, right? I can call out SAP for the autism hiring program that they did, right? that Microsoft has done an autism hiring program in tangent, I think they work with SAP, ei, and we create an autism hiring playbook. today that is, you know, available to anyone in every organization to implement, this would not have happened, if you know, someone would take the first step. And the taking that first step, it has to come from a place of deep conviction that this is the right thing to do. And it also has to come with the business case, unless you have a solid business case, like I currently work with a customer facing organization, my biggest business case to my leaders is that you're going to be facing and working with customers 15% of whom are persons with disability. And if you don't have that representation in your workspace in your workforce, then who are you serving, you're going to be not able to serve. So your ability to serve your customers becomes that much more enhanced when you are representing them. And that's Microsoft's case. I think that is something that takes conviction. It's not easy, right people that are the fence sitters that are the naysayers, you have to start out with you know that one or two people, you get your advocates, you you build your champions, and I trust me over time, you will start seeing it grew. I have started, I have personally seen from having one leader, two leaders who wanted to support the cause, as you call it or say that Okay, let me join the bandwagon. Let me say, today everyone wants to talk and why is it so and I that's where the accountability comes in. I love Microsoft for the fact that diversity and inclusion is not a leaders agenda or an HR agenda. In the tech industry, we've traveled the journey where it was many companies today, it still is, there is an HR person sort of driving it. But in Microsoft if every person has it as a core priority, until it's not just the HR person, like I said, as business reviews of talent and performance. And we do the assessment. Diversity and Inclusion is one of the scorecards. So how diverse and inclusive was this person? What do they do? And we do challenge and we go back and challenge that I think makes all of a difference. I suddenly everyone's thinking about it. It's not just you. It's not just that leader. It's literally every leader was Coker was was a sort of eyes on the radar to say, What am I doing this? And how am I being intrusive. So it's a journey, it's not easy. And I've been in organizations where it was just a talk, not really something that people believed in. But I think coming to an organization where it's literally believed by everybody, and everybody walks the talk. It's a different world of difference.
So that's so great. In fact, the motto of Microsoft vision statement saying empower every person and every organization on the planet that is a lot. And the transition from previously what it was desktop, a computer on every at every home and on the desktop, I think from now it's a it's a whole different level of vision. And that really it's, it's to see it in the form of Xbox, the video that you showed and
to activate fabric. I didn't show this but I actually want to call out that isn't the fabric of our culture. We have a culture which talks about growth mindset, right? That no learnability is important. And I think this is when we started coming on board as the CEO, and now he's on the board. But he really transformed the culture. And there's a lot of articles about how he's gone about doing that. One of the ways in which is he's actually put DNI at the center of that culture transformation. There's growth mindset, there is one Microsoft is there's diversity and inclusion, right? front and center, tied in with our values tied in with what we do. And I mean, that's, it can't get better bigger than that, when your own CEO is walking the talk about it. The leader definitely helps. I think the leaders cascade the message, and then it's not bottoms up where employees want to make a difference. They have it as part of the priority. So it's, it's a beautiful tie up time that way.
Absolutely. I think, two skills that Satya Nadella repeatedly said are most important for this century perhaps empathy skills and teamwork skills. And unless there is enough exposure to demonstrate, I don't think there is an ability to discover our own bias, right? I think a lot of freshers are asking how do I get in to this? I think what what's the outcome of this entire talk, his first message, I would say is to start with people and try and understand them, you will find a business case you'll find a hackathon problem statement.
It I want to share with this group and this large community there was an organization called the human library organization. Agile is a founded in Denmark. That's possible Ronnie Abergil who came up with his brilliant idea that let's start bringing out human beings as books. And so session that you do, you actually go in you, you you meet with the book, who the human being, and the book tells you the story. And that book would probably be from otherwise stigmatize marginalized community, it could be you know, someone who's been different from you. I think just doing that, you know, as an exercise, I've opened up a mind mind, I'm personally sharing this with all of you so that you when you get opportunities to go out there and interact with people from the transgender community, from the lgbtqi plus community, for women, I mean, just take the time out to talk to your own mothers and sisters, or talk to your brothers and fathers as well. Because as I've understood it, inclusivity is everywhere. And to understand the differences in the diverse perspectives of every group, you have to have an open mindset to say that, I'm going to talk to all communities, minorities, majority, marginalized, non marginalized, and get the diverse perspectives in, because that's what's gonna make you better person.
That's your dream. And I think that's, the more we try and understand the other person, you also understand about ourselves. And I think that's the journey to see some innovation coming up. Something new to do when something new to look out for. I mean, the statistic that you showed why 62% of the people want to do something, some find something that has a social impact in the purpose, but are always stuck, like, Where do I find and how do I find and I don't think that they're never going to discover unless they start interacting with people, like you said, like, like, more you expose yourself, then you'll discover something for yourself.
And I think increasingly as an organization, as well, as well as you know, as you're individually going into organizations, I like this quote from Satya that make the organization work for you. Right? To make Microsoft work for you, which meant basically, like, come in here, you have your talent, you've been hired for a particular talent, but figure out what makes you get up in that morning and make you smile and and do more of that. And if that celebrate in the organization even better, right? So as you think of which careers, which companies, what do you want to do, I think make it make sure that you have a passion around it. DNI is a passion and I'm so excited and happy being in Microsoft, where it is celebrated. And I'm being celebrated for the ability to talk about DNI. And that's what makes me get up in the morning with a smile to say that I'm going to work because I know it's something that I'm passionate about. So as you're thinking about your skills, the talents and build ability, think of what you're passionate about, and then find an organization that makes it happen for you.
It's amazing. I look, I'll just take a couple of minutes to see if there are any questions that we can try and address.
Yeah, I was wondering a lot of hands raised and
I can see that before hands. We can allow some of them to speak on form reflects language.
I'm perfectly fine with it.
I think radhakrishna present I think he also asked this question about whether can explore some options Microsoft application you can speak on Yeah.
Good evening, ma'am. Very good. Listen. Are you I'm 56 years old. For the last 36 years, I'm in the teaching profession. And of course, I'm guiding the people in the carrier red and cell. And I'm with the CBA dictating diversity, Mr. malas in Hyderabad for teachers door, my span, working span with the policy is 30 years. And now, what is the advice you would like to give it to our students through me, such that they get employed, and they have this inclusive policy, what you're talking about as an employee, what he is expected to be what he or she is expected to?
antastic? Thank you. That's a wonderful question, Krishna. And thank you for asking that. If I have to, you know, take it, like there's a lot that you have to do for my talent, and skilling, and all of that, right. And as you started on the journey to make sure that you are skilled ready, that's the fundamental of any hiring, but the same time, what differentiates good talent, and I and then things based on the years of years of managers and, you know, leaders that I have seen grow, is the ability to be a good human being, if you're not able to do that, if you're not able to, you know, speak different diverse perspectives, if you're not opening up your mind to the, the learning that you can get from everyone around you, you're going to be having a close group, or you might have a very quick cramp, like for the first few years. But after that side, after that, you start seeing yourself, sort of get horizontal in your career. But if your ability, and I'm talking about seeing the journeys of many, many people that I've worked with, you know, the ones who were open mindset, who are willing to learn the made mistakes, I've made mistakes, I've had failures, you know, and I can admit that I've not got everything perfect. But the fact that I was able to say, Okay, I'm going to learn from this failure, I'm going to do things differently. I'm going to learn a little bit of a diverse skill set, let me go and learn about coaching. I think that has helped and made a difference to my career. Ask them sameness. My advice for anybody is that keep a growth mindset on that you will always be learning. And learning can come from people learning can come from technology, learning can come from you know your classroom, but keep that learning mindset on always. And that is going to was going to help you in your career, no matter where you are. Right? Take those chances. But keep that learning mindset on, oh, that's gonna be my one advice. And if you are given advice, and you're a teacher, so you definitely want your students to learn at all points of time. But I just did that. As a teacher, we look at it in the classroom, we look at it in the set, you know, in the walls, four walls of the college. But learning is much beyond that life teaches you so much more. And a person has to be willing to learn all of those things to get better. And the more failures you have, the better. That's me. Thank you so much. Thank you.
Thank you. We have I think there's about five to six minutes left. One question I can take from the chat as well. So nikhyl has message saying I'm a differently abled candidate. Is there a separate drive conducted for pwd?
So Nikhil, I can answer that people also, we don't do a different dive, like I said, equal opportunities. And so any role that we opened, if you have the matching skill set, you're free to apply. You can at the point of interviewing, tell the recruiter that you have a person you know you have a disability, you need a particular accommodation. So we do provide reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities, even during the interview process. If you need any assistive technology, if you need a new assistant to be there with you for your travel, they're coming to in person interviews, if you require any special waker Microsoft is an organization that will provide you those accommodations at the time of interview itself. So there is no specialized drive for, you know, getting in persons with disability. But I know at the same time, when you're interviewing in Microsoft, you know you're selected based on your skills, and those skills at the time you want to talk about the accommodations that you require. There are two aspects to it. One is the recruiter and Microsoft organization providing you those accommodations. But we also make sure that the hiring manager the hiring team is sensitized enough, they given the right disability etiquette to be able to conduct an interview with you, right. And so it's not about saying that they're going to lower the bar on what they're going to do from a selection process, but they are going to modify the way they interview so that they can, you know, factor in the accommodation that you may need. I hope that answered your question. It will like definitely doors are open to everybody and every talent. And I think it's been about us speak up and having the confidence to speak up as well. see a lot of questions around pandemic, or the pandemic change the way you work in a company. I think Microsoft was one of the few of the accurate few, but it's a tech company. And, you know, at the end of the day, I think being a company that empowers every organization to do more with technology. For us, a pandemic enabled us to do so much more like the kind of product features that got built in, in teams itself overnight. Like we had to push our r&d teams to, like really step up the game. The education industry, like the education industry needed these tools and teams needed to be ready for schools for colleges to be able to implement and impart education. I think that's a huge sense of purpose as well. Right? So did it did the pandemic change? I think definitely. It gave us more empathy. It gave us as a as employees, we were more empathetic to our customers. We were more empathetic towards our employees as well. And this is one case and story that you can actually go and read in the DNI report. There was a person who joined us he the person with the disability who joined us in a Hyderabad office, of course, they're not the pandemic struck. And this person was actually in a hotel room. And this is a person with locomotor disability. Imagine if you're a person with locomotor disability, or just your movement is already restricted, the pandemic sets in and you're restricted to that four by four wall of a hotel room, with your caretakers with your family. It's not an easy situation. So what did Microsoft do, we actually went over and above and we asked the hotel, we provided an extra large suite for this employee to live in for the period of I think, close to three, four months during that lockdown phase, and for the duration that this person needed so that that person had better locomotor, I mean, let better mobility inside the hotel rooms that he was part of, I think that for me is, you know, the ability to show empathy. In a time when there's a crisis all around you, is definitely gone up more the kind of support we've seen for COVID. And there's a beautiful article that's come out on that as well in terms of how employee rallies employees rally together, and there was support groups that were created overnight. You know, an organization cannot do this fundamental, overnight transformation of people saying, I'm going to go over and above my work, just dedicate my time to calling up somebody who's probably needing some COVID support, you know, they might be in a hospital and doing that, unless the culture and that fundamental of DNI is, you know, they're already established. And he saw that, so, I mean, just gonna answer those questions.
Thanks. I think it also wants to speak on the microphone.
Hi, good evening, everyone. Thank you. I Good evening, Angela. My name is Linda Tara. And I'm a part of NAC talentsprint. I have I have two questions quickly, I'm gonna ask them. One is that, you know, is that whatever Microsoft has been doing over the years, as far as diversity inclusion is concerned, it seems that, you know, diversity and inclusion is now part of the core DNA of Microsoft, it seems more like, you know, the fabric around which the entire diversity and inclusion, you know, fabric is woven around. So, you know, putting into the core values is one thing, making sure that, you know, it's, it's there, and part of the DNA is probably, you know, taken to the next level. But my question here is that, you know, how do you how do you imply or make sure that, you know, people who come into Microsoft, apparently, you know, have this have this change of heart? Or that that inherent bias that comes from within? I mean, how do you change that, of course, it's part of the culture understood, you know, when Microsoft has been leading the roster, and they said, well, then you know, how you bring that change at the ground level where people apparently are working for Microsoft, they understand appreciate, and of course, you know, push the entire diversity inclusion into the same, you know, with the same energy and of course, it the same direction, the way Microsoft does as an organization. And my second question is that, if you look out, you know, clearly at other companies to, you know, apart from Microsoft, if there's one company that you can actually look at is doing exceptionally well, the way Microsoft is doing, as far as diversity inclusion is concerned.
The last year first question of like, I showed you the ally ship learning path. So every employee that comes into Microsoft today has to go on the ally ship learning plan, they have to complete a set of key learnings. And there are a set of in class two sessions as well. Three years or four years. Back when I joined Mike neeti, I was made to go through something called DNI conversations, right? And this was a session again to teach me about Microsoft's philosophy, but also open myself to understanding my unconscious biases. Talking about it with other colleagues, people actually, when I did it, I remember it was a virtual session in the night. So I actually had folks from emia. And us as well in the conversations. And all of us were talking about, you know, it, the beauty of it is there is diversity. But there's also common experiences, common hardship, and we are encouraged to talk about our experiences with exclusion, were encouraged to talk about, you know, when we felt left out, when increased, and I have myself over the years design number of sessions DNI in a box, you know, ally ship covering, and we actually increased this conversation among employees, to talk about it as a fundamental, you know, base, every employee gets to get a conversation with their manager, and managers really, tell me about a time when you know, you feel excluded, or let's talk about a time in terms of how can we turn this around? How can I be more inclusive, you know, and that is cool. By the way, at the end of the day, we have a, you know, employee engagement survey, which also measures how inclusive the team is how inclusive the manager has been, there is a score that everyone can get, so that accountability is even more here. And when we see it, you know, going down, we know that something's going on, with different costs Connect as well. So that's, I think, how you make it come alive for everyone, the organization? And to answer your second question, other other organizations, I don't think there's just one, I think there's so many, in fact, most recently, you know, I was part of a symposium we call, we call it together, we can, this is a few of the tech companies coming together. So there was VMware, Google, Dell, EMC, you know, and all of us came together with the intent of saying, Let's start building awareness for persons with disability at a grassroots level in a society. Let's start together. So we started with a summit. And then today, we're all working together to AI. And can you think about these are all organizations that are considered compete, we compete for the same talent, we compete with each other on products and services. But we're coming together to say the left make a fundamental difference to the talent pool, not from a compete perspective, but to make them talent ready for the future. And we're doing it together. We're collaborating on this front. And I think of me, your each organization in the tech industry today is leading from the front. Well, I think there's a lot and Microsoft has done and is continuing to do so. I think the journey is there we Goldman Sachs bsap. You know, each one has done immense and you know, forget us mmcs when I started out the journey on understanding lgbtqi Plus, I was surprised that even before the article, you know, was removed by the government. Infosys Wipro is of the world had er G's for this community, we had, you know, employee base would come out, and we're talking about in their organization. So our Indian MNC is we're much ahead of the game on this one front, right. So I think, given that we are a country of diverse perspectives. There are a lot of companies doing a lot out there. And I just can't mean one, to be honest. So it's just amazing to see that. Yeah.
Thanks. Thanks a lot, Angela. I think we're about the three minutes past the scheduled time, but I am sure, if we don't stop now you keep on going. It's such an interesting topic. And it's such, so nice to hear from you.
Thank you for giving me this platform. It's really nice talking to this audience. And to all of you out here, I enjoyed myself. So thank you so much.
We'll be leaving this with a lot of hope and enthusiasm to look forward to the much better world. What I think the key messages, organizations like Microsoft are going to great extent to make sure that every person on this planet has really equal opportunity, I think for long governments have been trying to do but now organizations like yours have been actually showing how to do it. So it's a great message, I think, gives us a lot of motivation. something to look forward to. I think I'd like to just say something here about talentsprint. For the last few years, we've been running a few programs, which are focused on young women. There's a program called Women in software engineering, our students probably around this call as well. And when we think of coming up with new programs, and then we say should we make it a little bit more inclusive program and inclusion at talentsprint means including men into the program. So it's, that's where we are and I think I'm proud of proud to be part of something like that as well. But this session, I think, is a really important session for all of us. And thank you so much for taking out your time and taking us through your journey. in presenting us how Microsoft is changing the world, and how freshers actually can look forward to and some of the more important things that they should start doing immediately in terms of getting the exposure meeting people and discovering their biases and it's not a message to take it in one go and, and I hope that we get a chance to see you again have one more session like this. Awesome.
Thank you. Thank you so much and and and thank you all for joining and interacting with us. It's been a fantastic session. On that note, I'd like to say happy we came and see you again for the next set of series. Thank you.
Awesome. Thank you so much, everyone. Thank you.
Watch the entire interview here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6xhXGJresE
Note: This video transcript is generated by AI. Therefore, it may not be 100% accurate.