Microsoft CEO talks racial injustice and what company is doing to address it

Satya Nadella at Build 2018
Satya Nadella at Build 2018 (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella laid out plans to address racial injustice in an email to employees today.
  • Nadella made firm commitments to increase investment in communities of color, additional training, and targets for increasing leadership diversity.
  • The plan follows an email Nadella sent to employees earlier this month to reaffirm Microsoft's commitment to improving its diversity efforts.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella laid out today concrete steps the company will take to "help address racial injusticy and inequity." In an email sent to employees, Nadella emphasized a series of commitments to tackle issues of concern in Black and African American communities, but emphasized the company will also take more steps to address the needs of the Hispanic, Latinx, and other communities over the next five years.

"Over the past several weeks, the senior leadership team, board of directors, and I have spent time reflecting, listening, learning, and discussing what role the company – and all of us collectively – must play in helping to drive change, both within Microsoft and in our communities," Nadella said in his email to employees. "With significant input from employees and leaders who are members of the Black and African American community, we have developed a set of actions that we believe are both meaningful to improving the lived experience at Microsoft, as well as driving change in the communities in which we live and work."

Microsoft will double the number of Black and African American managers and senior staff by 2025, Nadella said. The company is also planning to add another $150 million to its diversity and inclusion investment. Microsoft will also work with suppliers and partners to "extend the vision for societal change throughout our ecosystem," Nadella said.

Starting next fiscal year, Microsoft will require training on allyship, covering, and privilege in the workplace for all employees, including "new content on understanding the experience of the Black and African American community."

"We will expand on our leadership development programs for select Black and African American midlevel employees and their managers, to help prepare for promotion to Director/Principal," Nadella said. "For Director/Principal level, we will create a new development opportunity to expose them to the leadership expectations of the Partner/GM level and match them with senior-level sponsors and mentors."

Within its ecosystem and partner community, Microsoft plans to double the number of Black- and African American-owned approved suppliers over the next three years. The company also plans to double the percentage of transaction bolumes through Black- an African American-owned banks.

Turning to communities around the country, Microsoft plans to expand its work in justice reform to a $50 million, five-year "sustained effort." That's in addition to providing resources expand computer science education for to Black and African American students and adults. The company also plans to work on expanding access to broadband and devices for communities of color and institutions in urban centers.

"Change begins by looking inward. We expect this change in ourselves. Employees expect this change from their leaders," Nadella said "Our customers and partners expect this change from Microsoft. And the world demands this change."

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl