Rogers builds more inclusive culture that supports diverse team members, with help from Microsoft 365

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Written by Lorne Shantz


Today’s post was written by Nyla Ahmad, senior vice president of enterprise marketing and chair of the Inclusion & Diversity Council at Rogers Communications.

Rogers is one of the most respected companies in Canada. We were built by Ted Rogers, an innovative entrepreneur with a single radio station, and grew into this great company that other great companies and industries rely on every day to conduct their business. We’re able to do this because we attract, retain, and engage great employees. I have been with Rogers for almost two decades and have come to understand the power of people and engagement, and how, together, they help us achieve business goals. When great strategy is combined with a culture of inclusive teamwork, that’s when the magic happens. This idea resonates for me personally: as a woman with a culturally diverse background, I’ve experienced what it feels like when you don’t completely belong in a social environment, or you encounter barriers at work that make you hesitant in a meeting, uncertain about speaking up.

As I’ve grown within the organization, I’ve become passionate about ensuring our employees feel comfortable to contribute—no matter what. And I’m not alone in that passion. Rogers is made up of people who want to work in a diverse, inclusive environment because they recognize that all our various experiences and cultural backgrounds lead to more innovation and enrich the company.

Rogers has been working for many years to build a more inclusive culture and diverse team, and today our efforts have reached an inflection point. For the last three years, we’ve been partnering with experts and developing company programs to support our goals around diversity and inclusion. Microsoft has played a key role in this process.

We use Microsoft 365 cloud-based business productivity software to support our transition to a digital, modern way of working. Microsoft software complements the major workplace modernization initiative we have underway where we have built new, fresh workspaces that empower our employees to work wherever they want in agile, collaborative scenarios. We want all our employees to be empowered in our new work environment, including those with disabilities. Thanks to the incredible leadership of our Persons with Disabilities Diversity Group and our collaboration with Microsoft, all our employees can take advantage of the assistive technologies built right into Microsoft Office 365 and Windows 10.

Members of our Persons with Disabilities Diversity Group visited Microsoft headquarters to understand how Microsoft embeds accessibility and inclusion into its culture, products, and services, so we can apply similar strategies to our workplace to help our employees work more productively. They came away inspired by the benefits of inclusive design—exemplified by Microsoft 365—and ready to ensure that inclusivity remains a priority for building a positive workplace culture at Rogers. As we continue to educate ourselves about everyday challenges our employees may face, we’ll increase our overall awareness and understanding that one size doesn’t necessary fit all. We’re proud to work with Microsoft to use technology to empower everyone. For example, I’m excited about the voice commands, Read Aloud, Tell Me, the Narrator screen reader in Windows 10, and captioning in Office 365 apps—these features can help people with vision, mobility, and hearing issues. In fact, we’re using captioning to make sure the videos we present at our event to celebrate Diversity Month in June are accessible to all.

And that’s key to Rogers’ role as a communications company. As our strategy brings an inclusion and diversity lens to our people internally, it also extends to how we connect with our customers and our communities, where we strive to accommodate Canadians of all abilities and backgrounds. For example, Sportsnet—our sports media brand—partnered to broadcast the first-ever National Hockey League (NHL) game in the Plains Cree language, while Rogers Hometown Hockey hosted its hockey festival for the first time in an Indigenous community!

As we think more carefully about how we can be truly inclusive for our employees, customers, and communities—through accessible products and services—Rogers is leading the way with a forward-thinking approach to providing twenty-first century services that are truly relevant to every Canadian. If we want to remain a great Canadian company, it’s vital that we reflect the diverse nature of our country. We’re working with Microsoft to increase diversity and inclusion in our corporate culture, and we’re taking a huge step forward in achieving that goal. 

—Nyla Ahmad 

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