HR Administration

Microsoft Corp. Optimas Award Winner for Corporate Citizenship

By Janet Wiscombe

Dec. 3, 2010

With founder Bill Gates as widely known for charitable giving as for business genius, it isn’t surprising that Microsoft Corp. is actively involved in humanitarian projects throughout the world—from raising money for a Boys & Girls Club in Seattle to helping build a school in the slum area of Nairobi, Kenya.


Microsoft also has developed an initiative called Front Lines, which exposes senior leaders to other cultures and deeper ways of connecting with partners. “Microsoft’s future leaders engage directly with international organizations to apply their consulting and business acumen toward pressing social and economic development challenges,” says Frank McCosker, managing director for global strategic accounts. “In return, Front Lines teaches participants that successful leadership is about being a catalyst for positive change versus the traditional figurehead role.”


The Front Lines program is preparing Microsoft for the future, says Shannon Banks, leadership development manager at Microsoft U.K., where the program was launched. “The rapid growth of emerging markets will increasingly shift the balance of power away from the U.S. Exposure to emerging markets will increasingly be a requirement for senior leaders.”


Participants—among the top 4 percent of Microsoft’s sales, marketing and services group—assemble for three- to four-day workshops in developing countries, such as one held earlier this year in Nairobi with 30 “high potential” Microsoft employees. The leaders met with United Nations agencies, information technology providers and not-for-profit organizations. They also visited destitute communities, met with local community representatives and toured successful businesses such as a flower farm in Kenya. And while visiting Mukuru, a slum area in Nairobi where an estimated 600,000 people live, program participants donated cash to help buy construction materials and desks for a ramshackle elementary school.


brightcove.createExperiences();


Banks says the overarching goal of the human resources program is to “develop leaders while providing benefits to external partners and supporting the company’s African strategy.”


“Experience in the complexity and dichotomies of Africa have opened my mind,” wrote one participant. “I have learnt that citizenship is a competitive differentiator.”


For its efforts at helping leaders see how corporate citizenship can be strategic, Microsoft is the winner of this year’s Optimas Award for Corporate Citizenship.


Workforce Management, December 2010, p. 20Subscribe Now!

What’s New at Workforce.com?

blog workforce

Come see what we’re building in the world of predictive employee scheduling, superior labor insights and next-gen employee apps. We’re on a mission to automate workforce management for hourly employees and bring productivity, optimization and engagement to the frontline.

Book a call
See the software

Related Articles

workforce blog

Compliance

Minimum Wage by State in 2023 – All You Need to Know

Summary Twenty-three states and D.C. raised their minimum wage rates in 2023, effective January 1.  Thr...

federal law, minimum wage, pay rates, state law, wage law compliance

workforce blog

HR Administration

Is your employee attendance policy and procedure fit for purpose?

Summary: Lateness and absenteeism are early warning signs of a deteriorating attendance policy. — More ...

compliance, HR technology, human resources

workforce blog

HR Administration

Clawback provisions: A safety net against employee fraud losses

Summary Clawback provisions are usually included as clauses in employee contracts and are used to recou...

clawback provisions, human resources, policy