Microsoft supports mentorship program as key to success for modern working women

 |   Thornthawat Thongnab

Bangkok, 21 May 2018 – Microsoft underlines the value of diversity and inclusion in the workplace by empowering modern women and stressing the importance of mentorship in providing inclusive advice on both working life and personal issues. The mentors guide and stimulate new ideas using their experiences in self-improvement and in alignment with the personality of each individual. Microsoft also widely supports female employees to become mentors and provide moral support as well as empower their peers. We believe that this mentoring program will help workers to adjust their attitudes and better deal with any challenges. This program contributes to positive relationships among colleagues and within the organization as well as bringing happiness in their personal lives. As part of our endorsement of this program, we are working together with Lean In, a global organization committed to empowering women so that they can achieve their ambitions. Through this partnership, we have organized seminars and workshops to pave the way for professional mentors and to offer opportunities to receive advice from true mentors.

A survey conducted by LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company found that nearly two-thirds of men say that the senior leaders who have helped them to advance were mostly male[1], compared to just over one-third of women. This study reflects that mentorship is a key driver of success, yet only a limited number of women are available to help, advise and inspire workers.

Microsoft gives our employees an opportunity to ask for advice through a mentoring program that is part of our organizational culture. Apart from supporting staff development, we provide training programs for skilled employees interested in becoming mentors. We offer a wide variety of mentoring programs to ensure that these respond to different target groups of employees. These are:

  1. General staff – mentoring program for new employees to provide them with specific advice aligned with their individual goals or career development.
  2. MACH (Microsoft Academy of College Hires) –This program builds and prepares new generation leaders to work with Microsoft and improve quickly through mentor guidance
  3. Female Leaders–The APAC Female Leadership Development is held to encourage effective leadership by providing 50 Microsoft leaders across Asia Pacific with the chance to intensively learn and share their experiences as professional mentors for 6 months.

“I grew up with two successful ladies, my mother and my older sister, both of whom served as my key consultants and also inspired me in determining my career path. I believe that women have a more delicate viewpoint and experience that enables them to see what we as men often disregard. Microsoft has therefore supported Lean In to promote gender equality for women to empower them in embracing professional mentorship. Another goal is to emphasize the importance of female mentorship to better extract the potential of modern women and inspire them to meet their achievements as well as mine. I could not have achieved my success without two excellent female mentors whom I truly respect,” said Mr. Dhanawat Suthumpun, Managing Director, Microsoft Thailand.

In Microsoft Thailand today, more than 50 percent of our workforce are female and at the senior manager level, all are women. We believe that success and progress comes from diverse teams with a wide range of expertise, experience and background and these components benefit our staff in driving growth of the organization. Microsoft offers specific benefits to its female staff, including a 20-week maternity leave at full pay while new fathers or adoptive parents are given six weeks leave. Staff who have to take care of a severely ill family member benefit from 4 weeks compassionate leave at full pay. Such benefits help our employees spend time with those they love without having to worry about their jobs.

Ms. Chutima Sribumrungsart, Human Resources Director, Microsoft Thailand said: “Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organization in the world to achieve more and this would not be possible if we didn’t start by supporting our own employees to successfully achieve their goals. As part of these efforts, we have a mentorship program to provide advice and inspiration for all members of our team, allowing them to gain knowledge, skills and confidence and become mentors themselves to other women. With our commitment to supporting women to go after their dreams and make them come true, we continue to encourage diversity in the workplace with an aspiration to become one of the leading IT companies to equally provide career and self-development opportunities to everyone. Our aim is to develop and increase opportunities for women to take leading roles in the tech industry as well as in other sectors.”

Microsoft recently provided official sponsorship to Lean for the workshop “Mentorship Matters” to highlight its commitment to career development for all employees, with women taking the role as mentors to drive them toward success. More than 50 modern women who work with different leading companies in Thailand attended the session, during which the significance of mentorship was discussed and inspiration shared among the participants, empowering them and making them more confident to become mentors for other women regardless of where they are in their career journey. The participants were also given an opportunity to talk with several high-level executives from Microsoft Thailand including Dhanawat Suthumpun, Managing Director, Chutima Sribumrungsart, Human Resources Director, Tanapong Ittisakulchai, One Commercial, Small and Midmarket Solutions & Partners Lead, Siriporn Pajharawat, Education Partner Director and Narudee Kristhanin, Managing Partner and Director of Inspiration of Eureka International as well as Pornpan Chayasuntorn, Partner, Linklaters (Thailand).

Ms. Nattaya Kusuwan, Analyst, Thomson Reuters Singapore and Chapter Leader LeanIn Thailand said: “In Thailand, women hold only 31 per cent of senior roles[2] and this makes potential development crucial. Lean In’s objective is to be a community where women can meet and share stories that will help them maintain their work-life balance and develop their own potential. One of the important life lessons that will help women to achieve a leap in growth is to support mentorship and help develop people, both men and women, to become mentors so that women can get helpful advice on their careers. Microsoft’s sponsorship created an important opportunity for women from various industries to meet and inspire one another to envision the path to success, from getting suggestions from other mentors to becoming mentors themselves.”

Ms. Praya Uranukul, Corporate Sustainability Consultant, ERM-Siam (Consultancy firm of PTT Plc. And Thai Beverage Plc.) said: “The starting point of my interest in Lean In came when I studied gender inequality in university and had an opportunity to read Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. I personally believe that failures can and do happen sometimes. But if we fail fast, we get a chance to learn fast from our mistakes as well. I also believe that having a mentor helps me obtain the kind of useful, specific and relevant advice that I truly need from people with similar interests and experiences so it’s much more beneficial than learning by trial and error. I feel very inspired by today’s workshop because all participants are people who believe in themselves and know that they can change and be better.”

[1]Lean In.Org and McKinsey& Company

[2] Grand Thornton Research (The Nation, March 2017)