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Diversity Program at Microsoft
Microsoft was founded in 1975 and its Headquarter is based in Redmond, Washington. Microsoft Corporation serves the customers by providing various software and computer devices. It is engaged with its clients in the area of technical architecture, engineering and product delivery of Windows (Windows Vista, Windows XP Professional etc.), Media Center Edition, and Tablet PC Edition etc. The company offers Microsoft office products, unified communications, and business intelligence products through its business divisions. The main goal of Microsoft is to provide a better hardware and software technology to its consumers in order to entertain them fully through consumer electronics. Gaining consumer's trust is difficult for Microsoft in producing a console with several capabilities.
GLEAM- Diversity Program at Microsoft:
Microsoft has employee affinity group GLEAM. GLEAM means gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender. In the matter of workplace diversity, Microsoft is a leading company. It is the first company in the world to provide benefits to same-sex domestic partners. In its nondiscrimination policy it has included sexual orientation. Microsoft Corporation gives importance issues related to gay, lesbian and others. GLEAM (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Employees at Microsoft) was started in 1993 and now it constitutes of about 700 members (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Employees at Microsoft, 2008).
Specifics of the Program
In 1989 the issue of sexual orientation was included in non discrimination policy of Microsoft. GLEAM was started in 1993 with 12 members. GLEAM is active in securing domestic partner benefits for Gay, lesbian, Bisexual and transgender employees. In fortune 500, Microsoft is foremost to provide this benefit. In 2001, the company was awarded Corporate Vision Award the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center. Microsoft Corporation was the second highest scorer on Human Rights Campaign's (HRC) Corporate Equality Index rating in 2003. In 2004, members in GLEAM increased to 700.
There are numbers of programs within the Microsoft corporate environment for which the GLEAM works. They include:
- Diversity initiatives: To define and implement corporate diversity initiatives companywide, Microsoft provides specific diversify training to the member of GLEAM. For the product development groups GLEAM provides some consulting (Employee Diversity: Corporate and Company Diversity, 2008).
- Employee counseling: The goal of the program is to provide support and mentorship in career growth for GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender) employees. The board of GLEAM organizes an informal mentoring effort that provides the GLEAM members the opportunities to connect with other GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender) employees.
The company declared partial treatment for transgender surgery along with transgender-specific benefits in 2005. Company attained highest score of 100 on the HRC Corporate Equality Index rating. Again in 2006, Microsoft Corporation scored 100 on HRC rating and the employee group GLEAM won Out & Equal award.
GLEAM: Community and events
Microsoft donates its softwares and services to various organizations (GLBT civil rights and service organizations). Other organizations are Pride Foundation, Seattle LGBT Community Center. The GLEAM group takes part in various activities related to education and society.
Sponsorships and Partnerships:
There was the participation of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Employees at Microsoft in the annual activities of sponsorship funding. The activities included National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association Conference, Out & Equal Workplace Summit, HRC National Dinner, Conferences for the youth organization GLSEN and an annual fundraiser for Lambert House. To grow and raise Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender awareness and objectives, the network enters into the partnerships with nationwide associations, nonprofit organizations, and other special interest groups (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Employees at Microsoft, 2008).
The impact of GLEAM (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Employees) at Microsoft can be viewed broadly. GLEAM (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Employees) at Microsoft works: to make the friendly changes in the policies of company and the environment of work, to provide support and opportunities related to networking for the members, to promote activities that increase responsiveness about the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender community. Through some programs, the members of GLEAM interact with each other. The program includes:
- Launches and the movie nights
- Activities related to the sport and cultural programmes
- Making planning about gender and sexuality with the community leaders.
- Meetings with other GLBT groups.
GLEAM and Employee Career & Leadership Development at Microsoft:
The corporate members of Microsoft support the GLEAM in several ways. To make such programs the Microsoft provides executive sponsorship, leadership advice, and financial and non financial resources. Microsoft is a strong part of an association of businesses that support opening of the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act. The act would protect the workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Microsoft supports that initiatives should be taken to prevent and stop discrimination.
- Agility- Microsoft possesses employee flexibility through which their employees are contented to work at any location.
- Innovation and creativity- Microsoft operations are based on innovation and creativity so they have developed teams from diverse locations and this diversity results in brainstorming and finally getting an innovative idea.
- Shifting demographics and expectations- Microsoft has employees of different age, gender and locations having dissimilar expectations regarding their work environment, salary structure etc.
- Strategy identification and deployment- Microsoft identifies the right strategy according to the project and communicates it effectively to its employees for successful implementation of strategy (Gupta, 2007)
- Ability to work in cross functional teams- Cross functional teams are made involving employees from different departments enabling employees to work in these teams. this provide better communication of information among the departments.
- Fair knowledge of different cultures- As Microsoft has made teams from diverse locations employees are having fair knowledge of different cultures and practices. This creates harmonious work environment.
- Interpersonal skills- Employees at Microsoft possess good interpersonal skills. they look for the employees with good communication skills with a added feature of being multilingual. Employees at Microsoft possess good liaisoning skill.
In order to make every one, feel good, diversity programs have been designed at the basic level stage. Their main features are cultural exchanges, training based on sensitivity, networking and establishing affinity groups where sharing of information becomes easy for the women's, minorities and gays (Prasad, 2008). Various diversity initiatives are being sponsored by the companies where the people can raise their concerns and views without having any fear of retaliation.
Prasad, L.M. (2008). Organizational Behavior. Delhi: Sultan Chand & Sons.
Gupta, C.B. (2007). Human Resource Management. Delhi: Sultan Chand & Sons.
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Employees at Microsoft. Retrieved April 2, 2008, from www.microsoft.com/about/diversity/programs/dac/gleam.mspx.
Employee Diversity: Corporate and Company Diversity. Retrieved April 2, 2008, from www.eds.com/about/diversity/.