Following two straight years of declines in the number of its female employees, Microsoft will begin rewarding its employees for a commitment to diversity.
The company is tying executive bonuses to specific workforce diversity goals, Bloomberg reported this week, as the percentage of female employees dropped to 25.8 percent from 26.8 percent a year ago, mostly owing to the tech conglomerate’s firing of thousands of employees after closing Nokia’s handset division.
“The move is a form of pressure to incentivize top leadership to reform the company’s hiring practices in an effort to include more women and minorities,” The Verge noted.
While the company’s leadership team is filled out with more women and ethnic minorities than ever before in Microsoft’s history, a diversity report card Engadget completed last year revealed, “the diversity of the company’s general ranks fell year over year.”
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella took heat to years ago when speaking about diversity at the Grace Hopper Celebration, an annual women in tech conference in Houston, Texas. After being asked how women should go about closing the pay gap, The Verge reported that Nadella advised the female audience to “have faith and hope for adequate rewards, instead of asking to be paid fairly.”
Nadella later released a statement admitting he had answered the question completely wrong, saying that “if you think you deserve a raise, you should just ask.” Since, he has made diversity a major goal for the company, moving funding toward programs that will bolster minority groups among the ranks of Microsoft employees.
Gwen Houston, Microsoft’s General Manager for Global Diversity and Inclusion, told Bloomberg that the company’s CEO is working on a plan to make meeting diversity goals a major factor in deciding whether executives will receive their full bonuses.
“Diversity and inclusion is something you’ve got to ingrain, you’ve got to keep talking about the business value, you’ve got to keep talking about the impact,” she told Bloomberg. “That’s what Satya has been doing. We, of course, have more to do.”