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Building a More Diverse Workforce in the Partner Channel

A research-based practice development playbook and resource set to help Microsoft partners recruit and retain a more diverse workforce. Authored by Barb Levisay, with research conducted by CollabTalk LLC and the BYU Marriott School of Management and commissioned by Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Tech Data, and Microsoft.
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Building a More Diverse Workforce in the Partner Channel

  1. 1. Building a More Diverse Workforce in the Partner Channel Research-based practice development guidelines and resources to help partners recruit and retain a more diverse workforce
  2. 2. 2 Partner Diversity Guide: Attracting and retaining a more diverse workforce Copyright © 2019 CollabTalk LLC Building a More Diverse Workforce in the Partner Channel Research-based practice development guidelines and resources to help partners recruit and retain a more diverse workforce T here is increasing pressure on partners to expand the pool of potential workers who can support the growth of the tech industry. In addition to the sheer numbers of workers needed, research linking diversity to competitive benefits and profitability are driving change. Those companies with both ethnic and cultural diversity are 33 percent more likely to experience above-average profitability, according to McKinsey & Company’s multi-year research.1 Companies can’t expect to transform the workforce landscape overnight. Most partners are small organizations, and individual effort may feel like a drop in the bucket. But thousands of partners taking small steps forward can be a powerful force of change. This guide is designed to help partners take those first steps. These are not reflections of the participating sponsors, but through extensive research and interviews with a broad range of partners, we’ve gathered information to help partners understand and address the challenges of building diversity within their workforces. For most partners, this is the beginning of an organizational conversation. Through the many lessons learned, one factor stands out: genuine commitment by leadership to foster diversity and inclusion is essential to success. The challenges are real and there are no quick fixes. It is a continuous learning process. Building a diverse and inclusive culture can be challenging, but the rewards are well worth the journey. Let’s get started
  3. 3. 3 Partner Diversity Guide: Attracting and retaining a more diverse workforce Copyright © 2019 CollabTalk LLC .Contents JJ The current state of workforce diversity in the channel Research on workforce diversity within the partner channel plus lessons learned from other industries. JJ Perspectives from Microsoft’s Channel Chief Gavriella Schuster, Corporate Vice President One Commercial Partner, on diversity in the channel. JJ Partner diversity and inclusion action plan Step-by-step guide to foster a culture of diversity and inclusion including perspective and inspiration from partners. JJ The partner journey maturity model Maturity audit to identify organizational strengths and weaknesses. JJ Helpful resources JJ Endnotes JJ Acknowledgments
  4. 4. 4 Partner Diversity Guide: Attracting and retaining a more diverse workforce Copyright © 2019 CollabTalk LLC The current state of diversity in the channel To understand the challenges partners face with respect to diversity, we conducted a lengthy survey, interviewed partner employees, and dug deep into industry-leading research. Key findings are revealed in the following pages, along with some recommendations, to help partners determine the best place to begin the conversation within their organization—and how to move that conversation forward. The top-line should come as no surprise to anyone. Channel partners share the same diversity and inclusion challenges that most companies are facing today. The unique challenge is that most partners are relatively small organizations with very limited resources. The good news is that for smaller organizations, incremental steps will have a bigger impact, and can deliver marked improvements faster. Based on our research, the challenges partners face in building a more diverse and inclusive culture fall into three general categories: attracting candidates, hiring the best talent and creating an environment where talent can thrive and want to stay. Findings from research conducted on workforce diversity within the partner channel and the greater tech industry 67%of respondents to the partner survey said their company had never run a specific targeted activity or program to recruit diverse candidates.2
  5. 5. 5 Partner Diversity Guide: Attracting and retaining a more diverse workforce Copyright © 2019 CollabTalk LLC Challenges to attracting diverse employees Limited pool of diverse candidates A common challenge cited by companies is a lack of diversity in the qualified candidate pool. While many define diversity as the visibility characteristics including gender, race, and ethnicity, we must remember that there are wider levels of diverse identity that include both the characteristics you were born with, both visible and non-visible, and those that you acquire throughout your life. Things to consider • Recruit for basic intellectual capability and problem solving; you can teach specific skills. • Actively recruit to build diversity. Target candidates in other geographic areas through vehicles likes LinkedIn, university recruiting and/or targeted campaigns. • Consider how you can screen in diverse talent, instead of screening out. Train interviewers to recognize different styles and needs, and create an inclusive culture to help candidates to feel they are welcome and that they belong. How partners recruit diverse candidates Employee referrals still lead recruitment efforts for partners, which tends to reinforce current demographics—not promote diversity. 29% 20% 20% 12% 10% 6% Employee referrals Online Career Sites Social Media University Recruiting Temporary/hiring agencies Career/Job Fairs Diversity Study of Microsoft Registered Partners, CollabTalk LLC and BYU Marriott School
  6. 6. 6 Partner Diversity Guide: Attracting and retaining a more diverse workforce Copyright © 2019 CollabTalk LLC Unintended barriers to under-represented groups There are social and cultural barriers that may prevent some potential candidates from applying to job postings. Be careful to remove biases within job descriptions. Understand the characteristics you’re trying to recruit for, replace jargon with language that embraces diversity and inclusion, then proactively approach potential candidates for feedback and understand what needs to change/what motivates them. Recommendations • Craft job descriptions carefully to reduce cultural biases. • Redesign job descriptions to make them more appealing to talent working in other industries and professions. Challenges to attracting diverse employees Job description best practices Job listings play an important role in recruiting talent and often provide the first impression of a company’s culture. A common mistake is using gender-specific pronouns. Rephrase job descriptions to avoid the need for these pronouns. For more tips download “NCWIT TIPS FOR WRITING BETTER JOB ADS” at Make sure that all the “required” qualifications are truly required and try to build in as much flexibility as possible.3 Superlative phrases like “best of the best,” “off the charts,” “world-class,” or “unparalleled” tend to prevent women (as well as many men) from applying.
  7. 7. 7 Partner Diversity Guide: Attracting and retaining a more diverse workforce Copyright © 2019 CollabTalk LLC Challenges to hiring diverse employees Unconscious bias in hiring Even people with the best of intentions toward diversity can harbor attitudes and beliefs that affect their thoughts, feelings, and actions that may not be readily apparent to them. These biases stem from our preference for people who are similar to us. We hire for “cultural fit” rather than people who may bring the most value to the organization. Recommendations • Provide unconscious bias training to all company employees and hiring managers to help them identify their own gaps. • Develop objective indicators to rate each candidate to reduce stereotyping. • Consider blocking out pictures, names, gender, home address or anything else from resumes where bias may exist to help resume screeners be more objective. Diversity adds value When evaluating candidates, forward thinking companies are switching from the concept of “culture fit” to “culture add.” 33 How will this person offer a dimension that our culture might be missing? 33 In what ways might this person challenge our thinking and processes? 33 How will this person bring a viewpoint or context we may be missing?4 People will hire based on “fit” — and which all too often translates as “people like us.” Instead, if you build a culture where “fit” means people who exemplify who we are as a business, then diversity will be germane to your future success.5
  8. 8. 8 Partner Diversity Guide: Attracting and retaining a more diverse workforce Copyright © 2019 CollabTalk LLC Difficulty establishing success measures To measure progress, companies need to set specific goals for workplace diversity and track performance metrics. Recommendations • Assign hiring managers key performance metrics that mirror the diversity objectives of the organization. • Aspirational goals are one method to improve diversity but must be implemented with great care. • Managers should be included and vested in diversity initiatives and metrics. Organizations that support their managers through enablement and tools with the “what” and the “how” tend to make better progress. Challenges to hiring diverse employees “Mentorship programs within organizations are helpful but must be as diversely organized as the organizations they hope to curate. Involve experienced organization insiders as role models, mentors, or trainers, especially diverse candidates in leadership and management positions.”6 Retaining Talent: Replacing Misconceptions with Evidence-Based Strategies, Allen
  9. 9. 9 Partner Diversity Guide: Attracting and retaining a more diverse workforce Copyright © 2019 CollabTalk LLC Diversity efforts not aligned with company culture A company culture that genuinely embraces and supports a diverse workforce needs to be in place before recruiting begins. Recommendations • Perform diversity audits in each area of the business to uncover potential gaps, both in policies and culture. • Offer diversity and inclusion training to raise the level of awareness among team members in their role to create an inclusive culture, and recognize subconscious biases and prejudices. • Educate managers on recognizing and correcting situations and practices that undermine an inclusive culture. Challenges in retaining diverse employees Programs partners use to support a diverse work environment 13% 28% 25% 13% 10% 9% 8% Inclusive social activities Mentoring programs Diversity training Diversity committee Task forces Grievance systems of partner survey respondents’ organizations are actively engaged in diversity training. Diversity Study of Microsoft Registered Partners, CollabTalk LLC and BYU Marriott School
  10. 10. 10 Partner Diversity Guide: Attracting and retaining a more diverse workforce Copyright © 2019 CollabTalk LLC Challenges to retaining diverse employees High turnover among diverse employees High employee turnover is often a symptom of cultural or engagement issues—especially in the case of diverse employees. Recommendations • Foster communication and engagement t every level of the company. • Design jobs to increase meaningfulness, autonomy, variety, and coworker support. • Provide challenging goals accompanied by positive feedback and recognition of contributions. • Offer training and professional development opportunities to all employees. Work Culture Feel appreciated Salary Benefits (healthcare) Mentoring Upward mobility Diverse management 20% 16% 12% 8% 5% 5% 5% Reasons employees stay with their current partner employer Women are more likely to be promoted when managers advocate for them, give them stretch assignments, and advise them on how to advance.7 Diversity Study of Microsoft Registered Partners, CollabTalk LLC and BYU Marriott School
  11. 11. 11 Partner Diversity Guide: Attracting and retaining a more diverse workforce Copyright © 2019 CollabTalk LLC Challenges to retaining diverse employees Lack of career progression among diverse employees Diverse employees must be provided the same opportunities as their colleagues. Career and promotion paths should be transparent and equitable. Recommendations • Encourage inclusiveness with team leaders (i.e. mentorship programs crossing diversity boundaries). • Ensure diversity among top leadership. • Invite all employees to apply for promotions. • Improve referral program opportunities. Retention best practices In ongoing studies of employee perceptions of bias, we have identified three retention goals that can be implemented in just about any company: 33 More inclusive team leaders (fostering a culture in which people feel free to speak and feel confident of being heard). 33 Diversity in the leadership (that is, more people from different backgrounds in top positions). 33 Recognition and continued sponsorship of diverse candidates by senior executives. These goals appear to make an enormous difference in supporting talent of all backgrounds.8 This is not about assimilation, but about creating inclusionary practices, and demonstrating organizational accountability.
  12. 12. 12 Partner Diversity Guide: Attracting and retaining a more diverse workforce Copyright © 2019 CollabTalk LLC From Microsoft’s Channel Chief At Microsoft, we are committed to diversity and inclusion, including attracting, recruiting, and retaining diverse talent in the tech industry— and we encourage our partners to make the same commitment. The diversity of a workforce and inclusion of talented people from different backgrounds is the fuel that keeps the engines of innovation and growth running. Diverse teams catalyze greater innovation by bringing new approaches to the table, different questions, and great ideas. Diversity enriches performance, products and services, the communities where we live and work, and the lives of employees. One of the key takeaways from this research was that in order to build the best products for everyone, our partners should also have a diverse workforce reflective of the diversity of their customers. Sharing our learnings Like any organizational priority, the journey starts with a goal. If you have a goal, there is a destination that you can start down the path toward. When you add measurable targets to the goal-setting, there’s a mechanism in place to make sure progress is being made. Organizations can search new talent pools for hiring. Partners can look beyond the university programs and industry organizations. Consider searching for diverse candidates from untapped pools of talent, like veterans, who represent a skilled talent population with great diversity. Partners can consider initiatives to strengthen employee development and retention by increasing mentoring and sponsorship. Sponsorship of women and racial/ethnic minorities is a key component of business plans, and partners can ready and equip their hiring managers with a Diversity and Inclusion toolkit. At Microsoft, we are continuously exploring ways to advance diversity at all stages of the talent lifecycle. For example, we are investing in ways to increase our pipeline by sparking girls’ interest in technology careers. We promote the study of computer science at traditionally women’s colleges and other universities. We invest in women-focused organizations, seek out women-owned suppliers, and provide support to women once they are employees at Microsoft. This is just one example of how Microsoft is continuously learning and trying to improve. We encourage our partners to explore similar efforts. “In order to build the best products for everyone, partners need to have a diverse workforce that is reflective of the diversity of their customers.” Gavriella Schuster, Corporate Vice President One Commercial Partner Gavriella Schuster, Microsoft
  13. 13. 13 Partner Diversity Guide: Attracting and retaining a more diverse workforce Copyright © 2019 CollabTalk LLC Business rewards from diversity and inclusion “It is more than representation, it is more than ‘let’s all just get along, and it is more than a company motto. Increasing gender, ethnicity, abilities, nationalities and many other dimensions of diversity are proven business components for success. The data repeatedly indicates that more diversity on your board of directors, your leadership teams and across your organization enhances innovation, collaboration and most importantly organizational effectiveness – and, consequently, business performance.” Cal Jackson, Director, Diversity & Inclusion, Tech Data “Social Enterprise” pays dividends for partner Since December of 2017, Dynamics Intelligence Inc, a Microsoft Tier-1 CSP, has promoted their “Social Enterprise” philosophy on their website and LinkedIn. The company is committed to solving social needs and providing an inclusive work environment. While they invested no money in marketing during that time, they experienced: • 400% increase in LinkedIn Profile views • 5000% (1K/yr to 50K/yr) LinkedIn new connection requests • 800% increase in web traffic over four months. In May 2018, Dynamics Intelligence was recognized by NACD (National Association of Corporate Directors) for exemplary practices related to diversity and inclusion. The recognition, part of NACD’s NXT initiative, applauds exemplary board leadership practices that promote greater diversity and inclusion, ultimately fostering long-term value creation. For ethnic/cultural diversity, top-quartile companies were 33% more likely to outperform on profitability. Delivering on Diversity, McKinsey & Company1 Companies in the top-quartile for gender diversity on their executive teams were 21% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile.
  14. 14. 14 Partner Diversity Guide: Attracting and retaining a more diverse workforce Copyright © 2019 CollabTalk LLC Partner diversity and inclusion action plan Step-by-step guide to support a culture of diversity and inclusion. By embracing diversity as a responsibility that requires attention and resources, your business can move from talk to action, developing an inclusive and inspiring work environment. Based on the research findings included in the beginning of this guide, plus the experiences of partners like you, we’ve outlined an action plan you can tailor to your business. Leadership ■■ Communicate commitment to diversity ■■ Objectively assess company culture ■■ Establish goals and dedicate resources Recruiting and Hiring ■■ Expand recruiting horizons ■■ Evaluate current practices ■■ Ensure manager accountability Retention ■■ Evangelize diversity ■■ Support flexible work policies ■■ Formalize training and career progression ■■ Establish a mentoring program Click to jump
  15. 15. 15 Partner Diversity Guide: Attracting and retaining a more diverse workforce Copyright © 2019 CollabTalk LLC Leadership Communicate commitment to diversity “I intentionally set out to build a diverse board of directors. Experts say the more diverse the team, the more creative solutions they recommend. And it’s an interesting dynamic because when people come from different backgrounds, they tend not to align together into cliques. Everyone has equal opportunity to contribute. You’re always going to have different opinions on things, different perspectives, different backgrounds, different thoughts, and different experiences which stimulates innovation. Our board is a mixture of technical and domain experience. That’s because we have pursued the One Commercial Partner (OCP) model, which requires verticalization and the productization of our offerings. In order to do that, we wanted to establish credibility in each one of those subject areas.” Jenna Bourgeois, CEO, Dynamics Intelligence Partner perspective: Board diversity adds creativity “I think that diverse teams find more complete solutions to problems. They build greater products and solutions for better customer satisfaction.” Christine Bongard, President WIT Network Leaders who demonstrate courage, curiosity and cultural intelligence through example foster cultures of inclusiveness. By integrating demographic diversity into business strategy and communicating that to employees and customers, leaders set the cultural tone. Specific steps to demonstrate commitment include: • Leading by example, establishing an atmosphere where employees feel free to share their ideas and opinions, and feel confident they are heard and valued. • Actively participating in diversity training and team- building activities. • Setting goals and establishing accountability to build more inclusive leadership teams and boards.
  16. 16. 16 Partner Diversity Guide: Attracting and retaining a more diverse workforce Copyright © 2019 CollabTalk LLC Objectively assess company culture Leadership “Virtually every male partner leader I have spoken to about diversity has said the same thing ‘We’re doing pretty well with all of this. We have good procedures in place. We have equal pay policies, and everybody feels safe at my company.’ In many cases, I think they’re just making assumptions. Because they don’t hear complaints, they think ‘We’re doing great.’ When partner leaders recognize that there may be gender and cultural bias in their organization they can take the steps to change. So, the IAMCP WIT chapters are trying to engage with the men in the channel just as much as we are working to educate women. Together, we can be more successful.” Christine Bongard, President WIT Network Partner perspective: Question assumptions “Each year, we create a yearbook to celebrate our employees. We include photos of group activities as well as individual pages for each person. It’s fun and really builds the teamwork culture.” Ro Kolakowski, CEO 6th Street Consulting Many of the situations and experiences that women and minorities find challenging in an organization are not meant to be divisive. Through the eyes of diverse employees, the cultural and business practices that have developed over time may feel more like barriers than opportunities. Assess the current culture by: • Performing a diversity audit to objectively evaluate the current company culture. • Asking under-represented employee groups in your organization for honest feedback in a safe, risk-free environment. • Establishing high level objectives the company wants to achieve in terms of diversity and inclusion.
  17. 17. 17 Partner Diversity Guide: Attracting and retaining a more diverse workforce Copyright © 2019 CollabTalk LLC Establish goals and dedicate resources Leadership “When leaders don’t quite know how to engage with community organizations that can help them with diversity activities, it all starts with sincerity. The first step forward can simply be using the following words, ‘I am a Microsoft practice owner and I want to ensure that my work center is represented by the top talent across culture and gender in today’s world. I realize that my perspective is limited and I can not do this alone. So, I am looking to partner with your organization or open the discussion to discover ways that I can create an environment that makes it comfortable for diversity to flourish within my work center.’” Shadeed Eleazer, Founder, Managed Path Solutions Partner perspective: How to engage with community resources “Make no mistake that the diverse population will reward you ten times over through their work ethic and the way they communicate to people about how great you are as a leader. I get fan letters.” Jenna Bourgeois, CEO Dynamics Intelligence While you can’t change the demographics of your company overnight, you can make a commitment to try. Establishing clear goals and monitoring progress encourages leaders and managers to keep diversity a priority. Formalize the plan to make progress on diversity and inclusion with: • Appointment of a diversity team responsible for recommending and monitoring inclusion programs and standards. • Goals to increase representation of women and minorities at all levels within the organization. • Regular reporting on hiring, promotions and mentoring outcomes to demonstrate leadership’s commitment to progress. • Sponsoring team building activities that are inclusive across departments, management levels, and cultural differences.
  18. 18. 18 Partner Diversity Guide: Attracting and retaining a more diverse workforce Copyright © 2019 CollabTalk LLC Recruiting and Hiring Expand recruiting horizons Employee referrals drive the bulk of partner hiring, with few organizations being large enough to support a dedicated HR professional. Employees talk to their friends and past business associates, which limits the pool—especially for companies located in less diverse cities or states. Small changes to increase the pool of candidates will go long way for even the smallest firms, including: • Reaching out to local universities and community colleges to identify recruiting opportunities. • Using LinkedIn and other online resources to search for candidates. • Participating in community activities to gain a better understanding of regional talent resources. “We highlight our diversity on our website. Many of the people who apply to our company say, ‘I’ve come to your company because I want to work for a diverse company.’ And their skills are amazing. It’s the best candidate pool I’ve ever had and I’ve run this business for 17 years.” Jenna Bourgeois, CEO Dynamics Intelligence Partner perspective: Get outside your normal circles “Hiring’s difficult. We do what’s safe, and we do what we know. Maybe we take a recommendation from a friend or a friend of a friend. Many of us have built our business that way. That wasn’t really on purpose, it was just what was easy. It’s difficult to trust people just based on their resume. I think we fall into these patterns of doing what’s easy. And sometimes, you end up hiring people that are very much like you, which doesn’t necessarily promote that diversity of culture within the organization. All of that makes it important to get outside of your normal circle and try to find people that are unique, and that are interesting, and that maybe appeal to different pieces of the business.” Stephanie Donahue, President, PAIT Group
  19. 19. 19 Partner Diversity Guide: Attracting and retaining a more diverse workforce Copyright © 2019 CollabTalk LLC Evaluate current practices Every person, whether they realize it or not, inherently has unconscious bias in the way that they think and treat others. Companies should be intentional in their hiring practices to ensure bias is removed from the process: • Using standardized interview guidelines designed to be objective in order to reduce stereotypes. • Providing transparency between interviewers throughout the selection process. • Including interviewers who represent a cross- section of the company to help diversity candidates feel more welcome and to reduce overall bias during the hiring process. Recruiting and Hiring “It’s critical to create diverse interview teams, making sure that there’s a woman, and people of color on interview panels to level the playing field.” Christine Bongard, President WIT Network “Sometimes we get carried away with the whole STEM concept—everyone needs to be an engineer, everyone needs to code. There are plenty of jobs in technology that don’t involve coding, that involve things that we can be passionate about. My job is to help people change into a digital workplace, to transform the way people work, and that’s pretty darn exciting. I don’t touch code every day. I don’t think we talk about those other opportunities in tech as much as we could. The most important thing that we can do when we’re promoting technology isn’t promoting technology for the sake of tech, it’s promoting it for the sake of doing something you’re passionate about.” Stephanie Donahue, President, PAIT Group Partner perspective: More than coding
  20. 20. 20 Partner Diversity Guide: Attracting and retaining a more diverse workforce Copyright © 2019 CollabTalk LLC Ensure manager accountability Since most partners don’t have dedicated HR staff, team managers are often responsible for hiring. As gatekeepers, it’s critical that they are included and invested in diversity initiatives and measures. To help managers succeed: • Provide unconscious bias training. • Engage the Diversity and Inclusion team to assist managers with expanding their talent pool. • Drive accountability, not only metrics tracking— consider tying compensation to diversity and inclusion outcomes. • Increase transparency in hiring and promotion results. Recruiting and Hiring “The first impression is ruined when a person does not make an effort to learn a person’s name. Take the time to say. ‘Names are important to me and I want to make sure that I pronounce your name correctly. Can you please pronounce your name so that I can start our relationship off on the right foot?’ That will go a long way towards ensuring that a person who has a unique name feels respected.” Shadeed Eleazer, Founder Managed Path Solutions “Our social activities reinforce a supportive culture. If you are playing ping- pong at one of our social gatherings, and you stink at ping-pong, you don’t get ridiculed because you flub it. We have an openness almost like a safe zone. You can try something new and be supported, both in the work situation and off-site. When we’re asking someone to push outside their comfort zone, we remind them of the risk they took and the support they got during social events. I think that by creating those events, it makes it easier for us to not only know people on a personal level, but also help them push through potential fears or comfort zones that they have when we’re asking them to stretch on a technical basis or a professional level.” Michelle Hollis, COO 6th Street Consulting Partner perspective: Foster trust in the team
  21. 21. 21 Partner Diversity Guide: Attracting and retaining a more diverse workforce Copyright © 2019 CollabTalk LLC Retention Evangelize diversity Building a more diverse and inclusive culture will come with challenges. New employees may encounter both unintended bias and outright skepticism of their credentials. Corporate culture should be infused with positive reinforcement of the value diversity brings to the organization—from fresh perspectives to innovative ideas. To bridge the gap between old and new: • Provide unconscious bias training for all employees . • Offer training and opportunities for all employees to share their expertise. (Spread out speaking opportunities beyond traditional “go-to” presenters.) • Celebrate the cultures of all employees through events, holiday observance, and announcements. “One of our core values is to celebrate success. There is a wide range of personalities—from developers to sales people—in the organization and we try to help each of them expand their professional abilities. There are often times when employees are shy and hesitant to call attention to their accomplishments. We try to help them be more confident by sharing and celebrating achievements. There are also employees who are more cautious in taking on new challenges. We try to carefully push them to take on new challenges and then celebrate the success. We have seen that it helps.” Pankaj Argawal, Managing Partner, Optimus Information Inc. “Analyze the selection criteria for leadership programs and promotion criteria, to make sure that it’s balanced. If it’s just referral based, “Hey, I want this person to get a promotion,” you’re likely to be limiting the audiences of people who can be promoted and put into these programs.” Christine Bongard, President WIT Network Partner perspective: Celebrate success
  22. 22. 22 Partner Diversity Guide: Attracting and retaining a more diverse workforce Copyright © 2019 CollabTalk LLC Support flexible work policies Flexibility in the workplace has become a key differentiator for employers—especially with people working remotely. Respect for personal obligations and challenges should be a foundation of inclusive workplace policies. To build a more flexible work environment: • Review workplace policies to ensure that personal obligations can be accommodated and treated uniformly across the business. • Ensure that employees are respected when personal situations impact their work. • Foster a culture where people can be honest about personal conflicts without guilt. Retention “Our nine-to-five work week Monday through Friday was an output of the industrial revolution. It was also driven by men whose wives were home with the kids. Nine-to-five doesn’t always work. Many of the people that I’ve worked with in the past, they’re real troopers. They’ll try to do everything to cover up personal challenges and it’s very important to me in our company that people can be honest about their situation. For example, we tell those who have young children in our company, ‘if you need to walk to the bus stop, put the appointment on the calendar, and we know not to schedule during that time.’ It’s a challenge sometimes because at the same time, as an employer, we want to make sure that we have an equal policy for people. So you’ve got to have a good policy in place. Ours is a 32 hour work week.” Jenna Bourgeois, CEO, Dynamics Intelligence “We provide a lot of flexibility in the work environment. Instead of work-life balance, we use the term work-life integration. We feel like work and life today are integrated and unique for each individual. We are happy to customize the integration, so that both the individual and the company win.” Pankaj Argawal, Managing Partner Optimus Information Inc. Partner perspective: Foster honesty with employees
  23. 23. 23 Partner Diversity Guide: Attracting and retaining a more diverse workforce Copyright © 2019 CollabTalk LLC Formalize training and career progression To ensure that all employees feel they have an equal opportunity for training and professional advancement, partners need to formalize their standards and processes. Working with hiring managers, the company should consider: • Establishing fair, workable policies and processes for job postings and internal applications. • Defining and making transparent all job titles, responsibilities, requirements, pay ranges and selection criteria for all roles in the organization. • Establishing training paths for common roles in the organization. Retention “In many cases, partners are still operating like start-ups and haven’t taken the time to define what it takes to actually reach the top. So, in order to safeguard themselves practice owners need to ensure that standards for promotion are clearly defined. When everyone within the work center can identify a tangible path for upward mobility within the company, it breeds an environment of healthy competition of fairness and balance. It is important to take the time to define what makes an executive within the company, what makes a senior professional, or what standards define promotion within the company.” Shadeed Eleazer, Founder, Managed Path Solutions “I think that every company, no matter how small or large, should assign a diversity leader—someone responsible for putting a plan in place to review all company policies and procedures. They should be empowered to ensure that due dates and milestones are hit, plus drive the celebrations and rewards for accomplishments.” Christine Bongard, President WIT Network Partner perspective: Define the standards
  24. 24. 24 Partner Diversity Guide: Attracting and retaining a more diverse workforce Copyright © 2019 CollabTalk LLC Retention Establish mentoring programs Formal mentoring programs validate the company’s commitment to employee advancement. To get your mentoring program started: • Identify interested mentors and mentees to make an initial assignment. • Suggest schedules for meetings, but let individuals set their own cadence. • Refine and build the program through feedback sessions to determine what’s working best. • Consider mentoring teams instead of single individuals to support different aspects of an employee’s professional development. • Encourage employee participation in professional organizations, like WIT Network or the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, that may offer additional mentoring opportunities. “Partners don’t have to be confined to their own organization to find mentors. Local professional organizations for example, may be able to match mentors to enrich the experience for employees.” Shadeed Eleazer, Founder Managed Path Solutions “Partners should pay special attention to providing mentors and sponsors for underrepresented employees. Someone who could help guide them on their career development and how to take advantage of career opportunities, they’ve got a much better shot at being promoted and at advancing. Women are still leaving our industry at a high rate. A lot of that has to do with beliefs that they won’t be able to climb to the top. They won’t be promoted. You have to pave the way to make changes so that the women and minority employees can see a path to promotion—they understand it and believe that it will happen. The more that partners can do to provide access to personal support and guidance, employees will have more confidence in their future in tech.” Christine Bongard, President WIT Network Partner perspective: Build confidence in the future
  25. 25. 25 Partner Diversity Guide: Attracting and retaining a more diverse workforce Copyright © 2019 CollabTalk LLC Retaining Leadership Recruiting and hiring Partner Maturity Model Aspirational …… Commitment to improve D&I (diversity and inclusion) practices. …… High level objectives set, culture audit underway. Proactive …… Active support of D&I. …… Initial diversity audits completed and corrective plans in place. …… D&I team identified and empowered to drive change. Progressive …… D&I are foundations of the business mission and company culture. …… Leadership and BOD reflect the diversity goals of the organization. …… D&I team is active and empowered. …… Expanded sourcing for candidates, including LinkedIn. …… Evaluating HR practices, including job descriptions and interview processes. …… Unconscious bias training underway. …… Workplace policies under review to support work life balance. …… Gauge employee interest in mentorship program. …… D&I team engaged to assist hiring managers expand talent pool. …… Increased transparency in hiring and promotion results. …… Workplace policies provide flexibility to accommodate employees’ personal situations. …… Training paths and promotion criteria are documented and transparent. …… Mentoring program is underway. …… Diverse interview teams represent a cross-section of the company. …… Transparent recruitment, promotion, pay and other talent practices. …… Managers measured and held accountable for inclusive culture. …… Company culture supports respect for family and personal time. …… Mentoring teams support different aspects of an employee’s professional development. …… Ongoing diversity audits and employee feedback loops are part of company culture. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but partners can make significant progress through a systematic, phased approach. Build an inclusive, inspiring work environment to encourage the top performance from employees that drives innovation, customer loyalty and profits.
  26. 26. 26 Partner Diversity Guide: Attracting and retaining a more diverse workforce Copyright © 2019 CollabTalk LLC Helpful resources There is no actual or implied endorsement of any of the resources following. Some of the listings require paid memberships to access resources. Microsoft resources 33 Diversity overview 33 Microsoft Diversity and Inclusion “Unconscious Bias” elearning course IAMCP WIT International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners, Women in Technology 33 Home page 33 IAMCP Webinar: Develop & Enable Diverse Workforce and Culture Niamh Coleman of Microsoft and Sharon Chang of AgilePoint Inc. presented this popular session at Microsoft Ignite and share their thoughts on the topic with the IAMCP community in this webinar. 33 IAMCP Webinar: 100% Empowerment, 0% Guilt: Understanding Unconscious Bias A recording of the webinar is available here. A pdf from the webinar’s slide deck is available here. Professional organizations 33 MAES is a latino organization for the development of STEM leaders. 33 BDPA is an international organization with a diverse membership of professionals and students at all levels in the fields of information technology, computer science and related S.T.E.M fields. Student-focused organizations 33 CompTIA’s Creating Futures dedicated to helping populations that are under-represented in IT and individuals who are lacking in opportunity to prepare for, secure and be successful in IT careers. Links in bold
  27. 27. 27 Partner Diversity Guide: Attracting and retaining a more diverse workforce Copyright © 2019 CollabTalk LLC Helpful resources Diversity advocate organizations 33 National Diversity Council. The mission of the NDC is to be both a resource and an advocate for the value of diversity and inclusion. NDC provides a D&I certification program and toolkit for members. Other resources include a newsletter, a multicultural calendar, and directory of state diversity councils. 33 is a global nonprofit working with some of the world’s most powerful CEOs and leading companies to help build workplaces that work for women. Resources include discussion guides and educational webinars on a variety of D&I topics. 33 National Association on Disability The National Organization on Disability (NOD) is a private, non-profit organization that promotes the full participation and contributions of America’s 57 million people with disabilities in all aspects of life. NOD focuses on increasing employment opportunities for the 80-percent of working-age Americans with disabilities who are not employed. Resources include best practices for hiring and retaining employees with disabilities. 33 is dedicated to promoting companies that demonstrate their commitment to gender parity, raising awareness about underlying issues, and providing facts and research that show the value in equal representation. The ParityPledge™ encourages organizations to commit to interview at least one qualified woman for every open seat, VP and higher—including the C-Suite and the Board. 33 theBoardlist is a curated talent marketplace for business leaders to recommend, discover and connect highly qualified women across industries with private and public board opportunities.
  28. 28. 28 Partner Diversity Guide: Attracting and retaining a more diverse workforce Copyright © 2019 CollabTalk LLC Endnotes 1 Delivering through Diversty, McKinsey and Company., organization/our-insights/delivering-through-diversity 2 Diversity Study, Diversity Study Microsoft Registered Partners, CollabTalk LLC and BYU Marriott School, 2017 3 National Center for Women and Information Technology, 4 Buffer Open, Why We’ve Stopped Saying “Culture Fit” and What We’re Saying Instead, Seiter. https://open. 5 Forbes, How to Alter Your Hiring Practices To Increase Diversity, Maynard Webb, Former COO eBay diversity/#1d82c6ff2029 6 Academy of Management Perspectives, vol. 24, no. 2, Jan. 2010, David G. Allen, Phillip C. Bryant, and James M. Vardaman, 7 Women in the Workplace 2017, Mckinsey & Co. women-in-the-workplace-2017 8 National Center for Women and Information Technology
  29. 29. 29 Partner Diversity Guide: Attracting and retaining a more diverse workforce Copyright © 2019 CollabTalk LLC Thanks to our sponsors Tech Data connects the world with the power of technology. Our end-to-end portfolio of products, services and solutions, highly specialized skills, and expertise in next-generation technologies enable channel partners to bring to market the products and solutions the world needs to connect, grow and advance. Tech Data is ranked No. 83 on the Fortune 500® and has been named one of Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies for nine straight years. To find out more, visit www. or follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Hewlett Packard Enterprise is a global technology leader focused on developing intelligent solutions that allow customers to capture, analyze and act upon data seamlessly from edge to core to cloud. HPE enables customers to accelerate business outcomes by driving new business models, creating new customer and employee experiences, and increasing operational efficiency today and into the future. Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Microsoft refers to Microsoft Corp. and its affiliates, including Microsoft Mobile Oy, a subsidiary of Microsoft. Microsoft Mobile Oy develops, manufactures and distributes Lumia and Asha and Nokia X mobile phones and other devices.
  30. 30. 30 Partner Diversity Guide: Attracting and retaining a more diverse workforce Copyright © 2019 CollabTalk LLC About CollabTalk CollabTalk LLC ( is an independent research and technical marketing services company, led by Microsoft Regional Director and MVP, Christian Buckley. CollabTalk offers industry research, content marketing, and strategy consulting services within the technology sector — working primarily within the Microsoft ecosystem. The company is based in Lehi, Utah, with customers located around the world. CollabTalk is a registered Microsoft Partner, and a member of the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP). For this research, CollabTalk partnered with the Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University, with key advisor Dr. Kurt Sandholtz, Ph.D, Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior and Human Resources at the Marriott School of Management. About the Author Barb Levisay has written extensively about the issues that affect Microsoft technology service provider partners for Redmond Channel Partner. In conjunction with Microsoft, Barb wrote the award-winning ebook “12 Amazing Tech Jobs and the Women Who Rock Them.” As an independent writer, Barb applies deep expertise with Microsoft business management software to help partners explain the value of digital transformation to SMB and enterprise customers. She creates ebooks, white papers and other marketing content to educate and inspire.