Damage control (noun): When Microsoft's CEO kickstarts diversity plan after women pay gaffe

Beep, beep the foot is reversing from the mouth, beep beep


Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who earlier this month made astonishingly sexist comments to a room full of women, has decided it's about time to make his workforce more diverse.

The Microsoft boss said in a leaked memo to employees that the software giant would begin a series of initiatives including making sure that employees receive equal pay to their peers.

Nadella said Microsoft would be working to recruit "more diverse talent" into its ranks by looking to expand its recruiting base and working to make its senior ranks more diverse. Additionally, Nadella said that he will push for new training for Microsoft employees which will seek to improve the work environment in Redmond.

"We all need to think about how Connects are written, performance feedback is delivered, new hires are selected, how promotion and pay decisions are made, etc. We need to focus on both the conscious and unconscious thinking that affects all these things, and mandatory training on [diversity and inclusion] is a great place to start," Nadella told employees.

Microsoft, like many other companies in the IT, consumer electronics and social networking spaces has been found to be sorely lacking when it comes to employee diversity with significant gender and ethnic diversity gaps in key areas such as engineering and leadership positions.

Also on the cards for Microsoft techies is a focus on closing pay gaps for employees. Nadella said the company will make a push to make sure that women and minority workers receive the same pay as others who do the same job.

"We must ensure not only that everyone receives equal pay for equal work, but that they have the opportunity to do equal work," the Redmond boss wrote.

The equal pay issue has no doubt weighed heavily on Nadella's mind, given his disastrous appearance at a conference for women in technology.

Speaking to attendees at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing event, the Microsoft CEO inserted his foot firmly into his mouth when he advised women seeking equal pay not to ask for raises but instead trust the company to make good on compensation.

Nadella would then go on to make a bizarre comparison of not asking for raises to a "superpower" which would bring "good karma" to women who stay silent.

The Microsoft boss later recanted on the comments, calling them "completely wrong".

Let's hope, for the sake of Microsoft employees, that the memo is part of a genuine push for equality in Redmond and not just part of a clean-up effort on Nadella's behalf. ®


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