All Microsoft employees required to take diversity training after Nadella's "learning moment"

Kellogg Brengel

All Microsoft employees required to take diversity training after Nadella's "learning moment"

Microsoft CEO Sataya Nadella’s disparaging comments last fall are continuing to motivate new changes in how Microsoft approaches diversity and understanding in the workplace.

Today, the Puget Sound Business Journal reported, in an interview with Microsoft’s general manager of diversity and inclusion Gwen Houston, that every employee of the company will be required to take a course on “unconscious bias about diversity and race that they may bring into the workplace.”

The course has been an option to Microsoft employees for the past four years, but now the online version of the course is a requirement for every employee. Houston said in her interview that this is the latest part of a series of changes she has witnessed since Nadella’s infamous comment last October.

It was then at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing event, when in response to a question about how women who are nervous about asking for a raise should ask for one, Nadella advised women to hope good karma will reward them instead. The comment rightly angered and upset many and very shortly after the event Nadella offered multiple apologies for his comments and said “I answered that question completely wrong.”

Houston said since the event, many permanent changes have been put in place. In the Puget Sound Business Journal interview she goes on to say:  

“Satya’s comments at Grace Hopper have been humbling for him and humbling for us. But I’ve been inspired by how he’s taken that and made it a learning moment. Not just for himself, but for all his leaders. He’s used it as a way to say, ‘I have so much more to learn. And I want to invest actively in that learning so that I change this company.’”

Houston goes on to describe that there are is also now quarterly reporting of diversity statistics to Microsoft’s Board of Directors, as well as monthly agenda items for Satya and his key employees. WinBeta also reported on Nadella’s plan moving forward to promote diversity and inclusion at Microsoft, not long after his comments.

However, Jacob Demmitt of the Puget Sound Business Journal notes according to Microsoft’s own reports, less than a quarter of their employees are female, and 61% of their workforce is white.