This week, I attended Microsoft Ignite | The Tour, where I learnt some technical stuff and caught-up with some old friends of the “SharePoint community” which was great.
But I was also positively impressed by how Microsoft has really improved in welcoming diversity over the years. The day after I attended an evening panel at SAP organised by #InterTech with the theme “Purpose, Innovation and Inclusion” again.
So, yes I was quite surprised to see a few “Diversity & Tech” sessions in the middle the various technical sessions. Needless to say that when I attended my first conference back in 2007, there was no such topic being openly discussed.
There were so many great sessions running at the same time that I only managed to attend one of these D&I and was truly impressed!
Paula Lender-Swain was presenting the work from the group she is chairing as a volunteering position called “GLEAM”, which stands for the Global LGBTQ+ Employees and Allies at Microsoft employee resource group.
Taken from Microsoft site, “GLEAM works to drive LGBTQ+-inclusive changes to our company policies with executive leadership. GLEAM provides support, advocacy, networking opportunities, external outreach to community non-profits, and promotes educational activities within Microsoft to raise awareness about the LGBTQ+ community and increase ally engagement. “
Of course, very “Microsoft’s marketing” the presentation was showing how amazing it is to be an employee of Microsoft as they can feel accepted for who they are. And I guess I was still a bit suspicious of the “sales pitch” versus reality or maybe thinking that Microsoft D&I is an isolated case.
As said, the day after I then attended a panel at Intertech, with a representation of D&I board members from SAP Concur, Vodafone, EY Ernst & Young and Cap Gemini.
This time my suspicion: are large corporations really improving their glocal policy towards Diversity and Inclusion disappeared greatly. I can see now that there is a genuine movement in this direction. Companies have realised that a talent who is themselves in the workplace is a talent happy and who is more likely to stay and even attract others to join.
They ALL have a SharePoint site dedicated to D&I or specifically LGBTQ+ and friends (allies) so that communities within the business can form and discuss.
Myself have never had any issues being myself in the workplace; since I work for different customers and work environments I just do not get involved much in internal politics or gossips and if I feel that a customer is not receptive to diversity then I move on.
Being “external” to these large organisations that I sometimes meet, I must have been naive and not realise that they have also evolved so that was my positive realisation of the week!
It is quite rare that I use my “technical blog” to write about “anything else“, and I know that public comments here may not always be easy for some, so send me a message if you feel that the Microsoft world is or isnot that open, and if you have experienced discrimination in the workplace and how you dealt with it.