By: The JobsBloggers
Microsoft brings together people from around the world. We want employees to contribute not only their passion for technology, but also the confidence that they belong.
In such a huge company, how can we make sure that everybody feels at ease? Our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and Networks (ENs) connect people with others who share similar experiences. People who “get it.” Three employees tell you how these networks make a difference:
Jenny Lay-Flurrie participates in the XD (Cross Disability) ERG.
My ERG showed me the amazing people who work at Microsoft–and how huge their hearts are. They pour out so much wisdom and knowledge. They connect you with people who can solve a problem that’s kept you up worrying about your kids, or stopped you from being successful in a meeting. Friends you have never met invest in you.
For disability (and I’m sure every other group!), there is huge power in speaking with people who have been in your shoes and can share their experiences, best practices and guidance. I’ll share a couple of quick examples:
We have demonstrated the impact that people with disabilities can have on how Microsoft thinks, designs, creates and builds products and services for our customers. We participated in the usability process and gave clear feedback that was then incorporated into Windows and Office.
We have shown how thinking inclusively benefits many people. Our group advocated for the use of captions at the company meeting. That serves not just the deaf community but also others, such as people who speak English as a second language.
Will Perry participates in GLEAM (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Employees at Microsoft).
The people in my ERG are passionate and have an incredible focus on making LGBT employees feel included in the workplace, doing great outreach in our community, and constantly finding new ways to benefit Microsoft’s business.
We’re really proud of the collaboration our ERG has with Microsoft’s University Recruiting team. We work with them to make sure Microsoft supports young LGBT people studying science, technology, engineering and math. And with our GLEAM summer program for interns, we make sure that our LGBT interns feel included and welcome.
The networking opportunities that GLEAM has offered me are an amazing benefit: I’ve become part of a network of LGBT folks across the company, and industry. Having that network has been a great resource for me as I change roles, solve problems and travel at Microsoft.
Patrick Onwumere is president of the Africans at Microsoft EN (Employee Network).
I’ve been amazed at the passion and energy of the various employee network groups here at Microsoft. Ever since I joined the company five years ago, Africans @ Microsoft has been a source of support. I really appreciate the way it helps people who are new to the company feel part of it.
I’m proud that through scholarships and networking opportunities, we can reach out and get people connected. Most importantly, our group has a huge impact on the strategy and direction of Microsoft’s work in Africa, from both a citizenship and a business perspective.
In addition to building your social and professional network, one of the greatest benefits of the organization is the feeling of being a part of a strong, vibrant community.