Fiona Carney, Microsoft’s Senior Director of Business Operations for the Asia Pacific and Japan regions, recently led a presentation on operations in Singapore.
The presentation format was a round table, including Microsoft expat employees from Singapore, Ireland, Indonesia, USA, and India.
The outliers were 24 University of Nevada, Reno students participating in the Nevada Global Business program in Singapore.
At Microsoft, diversity is vital to success in a complex market.
“Having a diverse team brings up lots of good, challenging discussions across the team, and allows for multiple perspectives to be taken into account,” Carney explained.
She continued, “We operate in a massively complex market in Asia, and to actually work through this complexity, we need to have a lot of different perspectives and ways of solving issues.”
Working within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) requires adaptation to:
- 5 different languages,
- 6 time zones,
- and 8 billing currencies.
And that’s just getting started!
One of the central challenges for employees working in ASEAN is communicating with offices in other time zones.
To collaborate with offices in the United States, Asia-Pacific employees tend to be on calls late at night or very early morning , outside of typical business hours. Microsoft tackles this hurdle by allowing levels of flexibility in managing their work time.
Despite these challenges, employees describe their global experience as uniquely valuable.
Originally from Ireland, Carney explained that working abroad in Singapore is a fantastic experience. She said that working with people deeply ingrained in their cultures helps her to really understand their values and ways of working.
Although Microsoft’s employees come from a variety of diverse backgrounds, they share the desire to create an inclusive culture in the workplace. Employees from different offices get together a few times each year to connect and work on shared business strategies. Truly, Microsoft is an example of a global leader in the technology industry.
How do you support diversity in the workplace? Leave a reply to join the conversation.
Until next time, Saludos!