In an exclusive interview with All things Talent Cherise Mendoza, Head of HR for Canada at Microsoft, spoke on the importance of building an inclusive workplace and the deep connection between diversity, organizational culture and the future success of an organization.
Q: As part of Microsoft’s journey to embolden their internal culture, how important has diversity been for your organization?
A: It’s a critical component. If you think about the cultural journey we’ve been on over the past few years, with our CEO Satya Nadella, one of the things we did was redefine our culture. We believe that a culture needs to start with the right outlook such as, we’ve fostered the concept of a growth mindset. This means we believe everyone can learn and improve together.
We want to make sure we’re customer obsessed, that we have a diverse and inclusive workplace, and that we can empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more. We understand it’s hard to do this if you don’t have a demographic in your own house that represents this.
“We know how integral a growth mindset is to our journey. It’s a cause worth championing especially in a sector used to hearing grumbles over their diversity quotas.”
Q: What are your views on discrepancies in the industry?
A: Discrepancies in the industry are something that won’t necessarily be eradicated overnight. We are constantly striving to increase representation, particularly when it comes to women and ethnic minorities, across all levels. Whilst we’re committed to this, we understand that it can be a journey for the technology sector.
Q: What are the things you focus on in D&I?
A: There are five things we focus on when we look at diversity and inclusion.
The first is transforming our culture and ensuring we have a culture that has the ability to thrive. The second is about empowering and retaining our people, and making sure you’ve got a really good set of programs and initiatives in place. The third is around driving an inclusive recruiting process, which is crucial in when it comes to attracting diverse talent. The fourth is expanding our talent pipeline, and the fifth is around delighting our customers.
“Our changing ideas of what diversity is, and how we can achieve it across an organization, has improved in part due to the growing inclusivity we enjoy in our personal lives.”
Canada has a highly diverse demographic, which has undoubtedly filtered down into our workplaces. It’s such a great opportunity that we have, in tech in particular and it’s so interesting to see how many of our customers are engaged in seeing the cultural change Microsoft has gone through.
I think one of the reasons we had such success, is because our CEO Satya really understood the relationship between strategy and culture. We’ve come a long way, and we have a long way to go but this is what makes it such an exciting time to be part of HR. Leaders are now starting to realize that in order to be successful in the future, you have to be deeply connected to your culture.