January 2020 Microsoft colleague, Mark Wiertsema, posted a personal story ''Gaaf! - Andersbegaafd'' about his cousin as a reach out to his network. He was asking for attention for the talented neurodiverse community. I was intrigued and learned that neurodiverse people are often misunderstood while potentially being the perfect fit for tech savvy roles. Last year Microsoft started the Partner Pledge initiative in the Netherlands. I am honored to be together with Andreaa Mares part of this new industry movement to challenge each other on our promise and journey to use technology for good. So far, I have learned a lot from different experts like ITVitae, who educate, coach and support with inclusive career opportunities. With this blog I hope to share insights on why you as a tech company could consider welcoming more neurodiverse talent in your workforce! The concept of neurodiversity emerged in the ‘90s as an inclusive movement that views neurological and developmental conditions as normal variations in cognitive traits that should be embraced as a part of human diversity. An estimated 15% to 20% of people around the world have a neurodivergent condition. Autism, the initial focus of many neurodiversity hiring programs, affects about 2% of American adults. The world of experience for neurodiverse people is different. To get a sense of understanding you can check out Jeffrey Meijer's excellent blog (Dutch) ''Een avondje Utrecht met mijn prikkelknipperlicht'' on his experience of having an exciting day out in Utrecht and how he experienced all the stimuli. During these two years the world has changed. Diversity and inclusion have become a hot topic and working from home has created new opportunities. D&I has evolved from an activist topic to a political agenda with commercial advantages. I believe that a diverse workforce can only flourish through sincerity to care about humanity and curiosity about non-conformism. If you are sincere and you are willing to go the extra mile to evolve your workplace you can win big time as Neurodiversity has evolved to be a strong Competitive Advantage (hbr.org) The success stories of offering a compatible (hybrid) workplace in tech are inspiring. Microsoft for example set up a Neurodiversity Hiring Program to accommodate the needs and tap into new potential while setting the future employees up for success. It takes extra work to welcome neurodiverse talent. For example, consider using non-traditional, non-interview-based assessment and training processes, training their managers and co-workers, setting up a support system and tailoring methods for managing careers. Microsoft Autism Hiring Program - YouTube In my opinion the advantages outweigh the extra work from different points of perspective. Neurodiverse talent are differently able and can bring new insights that can help your business innovate. Another advantage is that it has been difficult to find talent while the neurodiverse community has been neglected as a pool of talent. One other advantage, which makes my heart beat a bit faster, is the gratitude that you can bring by offering a perspective to bring financial independence and with that the opportunity for more neurodiverse people to become a part of society from a perspective of their personal strengths and talents. Read the comments at the YouTube video shared above to read stories of gratitude from neurodiverse talent, their families and my colleagues expressing that these programs bring purpose to our day-to-day work. If you are ready to learn more contact IT Vitae and check out the training paths and experiences on hiring graduates from their programs. Employers can also find resources for starting a hiring initiative through the Autism @ Work Playbook. We would also love to hear about your journey, reach out to me if you want to learn more about the Microsoft Partner pledge and reach out to share your best practices about your inclusive workplace to the Microsoft Partner Pledge Community.
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'𝗘𝗲𝗻 𝗯𝗲𝗱𝗿𝗶𝗷𝗳 𝗶𝘀 𝗴𝗲𝗲𝗻 𝗯𝗲𝗱𝗿𝗶𝗷𝗳 𝘇𝗼𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝘇𝗶𝗷𝗻 𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘀𝗲𝗻.' En bij 1uur.nu draait het om die mensen. We brengen ze samen en halen het beste in ze naar boven. Wij geloven dat iedereen, ongeacht zijn rol, locatie of capaciteiten, moet worden uitgerust met de juiste hulpmiddelen en informatie, zodat hij effectief kan zijn op het werk. Wij willen dat iedereen zich welkom en geaccepteerd voelt om wie hij is, ongeacht zijn achtergrond, overtuiging of beperking. Dit is de focus van ons diversiteits- en inclusiebeleid. En precies daarom hebben we de tip om slimmer te werken van onze Claudia van Heelsbergen laten vertolken in deze video. Zo leert écht iedereen om slimmer te werken. Geloof ook jij als werkgever in de kracht van inclusiviteit? Benieuwd wat wij voor jouw organisatie kunnen betekenen op het gebied van inclusiviteit? Geef ons een belletje op 0183-512 253 #inclusiviteit #diversityandinclusion #microsoft365
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One of my motivations to have a career in tech is because I believe that we as an industry have the power to advocate, build, and change to support humanity, animals and our planet. With the power of technology, we have a moral responsibility to make sure tech is used for social good. During the last years I have discovered that making a difference, not only means working towards a better future for people and organizations. Making a difference for good also offers a purpose to those working in tech and with that it strengthens our character, immune system and build a stronger workforce because of the common ground it brings with pride, intention, and hope. Personally, I get energy, hope for a better future and pride in the work that I do with Partners.
In my day-to-day work I have the privilege to collaborate with advanced partners like Motion10. Motion10 has done their homework on how to leverage their strengths for societal impact. With this blog I hope to highlight their work as an inspiration for our industry. This blog will be the first within a series of partner solutions and the Microsoft Partner Pledge. If you also want to be featured and you have an inspirational story to inspire with your best practices or if you are ready to learn more about the commitment to being responsible in everything we do, check out this blog by Hermien Roebersen. At the informational Partner Pledge page, you can learn and sign to become part of our movement!
What is Motion10 bringing to the world? How are they helping others?
Motion10 has their expertise in place as a tech innovator. Their expertise is rare in the market and with that it is mostly embraced by progressive innovative customers in the higher segments. The PitWall is the Motion10 developed framework as a managed service by assessing the value of digital transformation and an ongoing road to success. What I love about their solution is that it starts with the purpose and aim of organizations which makes it tick for both the organizations the PitWall supports and the employees at Motion10! Organizing the pathway of to the aim of the organization helps with unlocking unexpected insights and value through the energy of creation build with the technological advances we have today.
The fundamental principles from the strategic architecture advice brought the basics right and really made it possible to move this project at rapid speed. Samir Rharouadi, Manager ICT Product Development Koninklijke Rotra
The translation of Motion10's technical expertise towards being a purpose driven business is the MotionTogether program. At Microsoft we have learning days and not too long ago I was invited to join the MotionTogether lunch presentation on their latest project with KNGF Geleidehonden. I am inspired by the program because of the practical approach of building diversity and inclusion in a way that resonates with the employees of Motion10. They were able to bring in their passion and skills to support a charity which they carefully selected. The high vibe amongst the attendees during the meeting resonated and proofs again that being intentional with purpose creates an increase of energy and willpower.
“Don’t underestimate the power of vision and direction. These are irresistible forces, able to transform what might appear to be unconquerable obstacles into traversable pathways and expanding opportunities.” J.B. Peterson
The value of the PitWall for the Royal Dutch Guide Dog Foundation (KNGF)
At the lunch session I learned that the education of one guide dog costs about €40.000. Some more interesting facts are that in 2020, there were 114 dogs in training and the number of 'active teams of dog and owner' has grown to 727, summoning 491 guide dogs for the blind, 43 buddy dogs for autism, 52 assistant dogs, 73 buddy dogs for PTSS and 68 buddy dogs for children.
The success of the organization depends on keeping their stakeholders actively engaged by sharing of the right information involved to breed, educate, and offer the best possible dogs for those in need. The coordination of all the stakeholders is extensive as it involves different perspectives such as the families who help with the puppies growing up, to trainers of the dogs, trainers of the new to be dog owners, donation management, managing bloodlines of the dogs and much more. Through the lens of what value technology can bring, Motion10 introduced their PitWall solution to support the mission of the KNGF to empower those with a disability to have a beter live with a professional guide dog.
By identifying data-driven moments Motion10 supports getting the most out of data. The number of data points for organizations like the KNGF are tremendous and often overlooked. With the insights gained by the PitWall strategy it has become a standardized and strategic way of working to build a stronger engagement with donors, manage their dog's lifecycle and build a higher quality experience for all stakeholders involved.
Are you inspired? Support the KNGF and nominate a new MotionTogether project!
There are many things we do together! It all depends on you and what suits you best.
Would you like a fluffy puppy to join your family unit? Consider becoming a foster parent! Check out the website of the KNGF to learn more about requirements and how this can enrich your life! Donations are also very welcome to support the KNGF!
In case you work at or have a charity, which is close to your heart, and you believe it can benefit from Microsoft's technology with the Motion10's PitWall solution, please nominate them for Motion10’s MotionTogether 2022 through the forms on MotionTogether - Motion10 (deadline is the 31st of March 2022)!
If you are a commercial organization and want to learn more about the PitWall, contact Motion10 directly through the contact information at https://www.motion10.nl/
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The 2021 MS Sustainability Report has been published offering a comprehensive look at our progress in 2021 to becoming a carbon negative, water positive, zero waste company by 2030.
When we announced our climate commitments in January 2020, we also committed to transparency in sharing our learnings. This year’s report includes several important lessons, and our goals remain consistent: we aspire to build a world better than the one we found, and to help our customers and partners do the same.
Check-out the below resources:
Download 2021 Environmental Sustainability Report Building a foundation for 2030 - The Official Microsoft Blog
Brad Smith's LinkedIn post on the subject:
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We are delighted to announce that Microsoft Netherlands is taking the Partner Pledge!
“When I started at Microsoft 8 years ago, I wanted to make a difference and technology can do this, in many ways. But we can’t do this alone at Microsoft, we need everybody and every organization. We have a shared responsibility and a shared opportunity.” Hermien Roebersen, GPS Lead of Microsoft Netherlands, talks about our technology vision and invites Microsoft Partners to join us on this journey and pledge to use tech as a force for good.
What is Partner Pledge?
The Microsoft Partner Pledge is a statement of intent in which we ask our partners to join us on this journey to use tech as a force for good.
By signing the pledge, we ask our partners to work with us to become ambassadors for digital skills, advocates for responsible and ethical AI, leaders committed to building a diverse and inclusive tech sector, and an environmentally sustainable future for our planet.
If you work for one of the many Dutch-based Microsoft partner organizations, you likely share our vision and commitment to customers - That's why we created the Partner Pledge which focuses on the four critical goals. If your Partner organization focuses on at least 1 of the below pillars we encourage you to sign the Partner Pledge below. Microsoft Netherlands Partner Pledge Pillars:
1. Ensure we are an ambassador of Microsoft The Netherlands Digital Skills initiatives:
Raise internal awareness of the Digital Skills initiatives and take advantage of all opportunities to provide staff with new skills training.
Promote the Digital Skills initiatives to customers.
2. Ensure we are building AI in a responsible and ethical way, consistent with AI design principles such as:
Fairness – Use AI to drive efficiencies while protecting dignity and guarding against bias.
Accountability – Decisions made by AI must be accountable to citizens and consumers.
Explainable – AI must be explainable and understandable.
Ethics – AI must assist humanity and respect rights, such as privacy.
3. Ensure we are focused on sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint through:
Conversations: endeavor to make sustainability part of every supplier and enterprise customer engagement moving forward.
Partnerships: embedding sustainability into strategic alliances.
Transparency: increasing transparency around our carbon footprint for our services and offerings.
Tools: utilize new tools to enable customers to better monitor and manage their carbon footprint, for example using the Microsoft Emissions Impact Dashboard.
4. Endeavour to build a more diverse and inclusive workforce through:
Having a plan to improve inclusion, including adopting inclusive recruitment and promotion processes and practices to support the development and retention of a diverse workforce.
Ensure managers have a deep understanding and commitment to building inclusive culture within their organisation.
Addressing racial inequality in the workforce by striving for strong representation at all levels from individual contributors to senior management
Addressing gender inequality in the workforce by striving for strong representation at all levels from individual contributors to senior management
Ensure everyone in the organization regardless of race, disability, gender, sexual orientation, or other relevant protected status feels included.
Endeavour to build accessible solutions and services, to empower our employees and customers with disabilities for a more inclusive future.
Promote to all employees within my organization earning their Accessibility Fundamentals badge (2hrs 5mins).
We believe these priorities are not just the right thing to do but also make strong business sense. If you agree and share our vision and passion, we invite you to sign the Partner Pledge and work with us to help the Netherlands thrive in this exciting new future. To confirm your pledge please download the document and once signed, please email us a copy.
Once you have signed the Pledge you will be sent a badge to display on your website and social accounts.
Download the pledge
Email us a copy
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