Microsoft has launched a new diversity initiative after CEO Satya Nadella made controversial comments about equal pay for men and women.
Last week, Nadella told women not to ask for raises but instead trust that the system would give them the right pay bump.
"It's not really about asking for a raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will give you the right raise," Nadella said. "That might be one of the initial 'super powers' that, quite frankly, women [who] don't ask for a raise have ... It's good karma. It will come back."
The advice, which he gave to the crowd at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Phoenix, Arizona, was met criticism. He has since backtracked from his comments, saying that it was "completely wrong" and that he "wholeheartedly support" diversity programs within his company.
Now, Nadella is apologizing in more detail as he sought to mitigate the fallout from his comments. In an internal memo obtained by Geekwire, Nadella called his gaffe a "humbling and learning experience" and outlined the programs that Microsoft will put in place to address the pay gap.
"For context, I had received this advice from my mentors and followed it in my own career. I do believe that at Microsoft in general good work is rewarded, and I have seen it many times here. But my advice underestimated exclusion and bias - conscious and unconscious - that can hold people back. Any advice that advocates passivity in the face of bias is wrong," Nadella wrote.
Saying that he is "100 percent committed to diversity and inclusion, " Nadella identified areas of improvement that Microsoft will address to close wage gap. Across the country, women are paid 78 cents to every dollar a man makes. In Microsoft, the situation is said to be much better. According to Nadella, female employees were paid 99.7% of what their male counterparts made in the same level and title. However, he said that the company needs to improve in ensuring that women can get the same jobs as men.
Nadella also cited a need to recruit more minorities across all levels. He said that his company's workforce needs to be more diverse, especially in engineering. However, this statement may clash with what Microsoft is actually doing. The company announced massive job cuts earlier in this year.
Lastly, he said that Microsoft will expand its training program to teach employees how to "foster an inclusive culture." Nadella said that his company will institute changes to the way it selects new hires, delivers performance feedback and gives out promotions.
At the end of his memo, Nadella promised to be at the Grace Hopper event next year. Until then, he promised to "do great things" with his company.