Jan 12,2021

Unlocking the power of your values: Diversity best practices from AvePoint

This post examines the power of values like diversity, inclusivity, and accessibility in action by AvePoint, for organizations big or small, for profit and not for profit. As an exemplar to all partners—and tech companies—AvePoint’s success has everything to do with its values and business culture. In this post, I share best practices distilled from AvePoint that you can adopt to develop your own diversity strategy. In addition, I list some Microsoft partner resources that will help you get started.

About AvePoint

Founded by Kai Gong and Dr. Tianyi Jiang in 2001, New Jersey-based AvePoint has achieved an extraordinary amount of success and shows no signs of slowing down, thanks to their announcement to go public. On its stratospheric business journey, the company has earned an incredible five Microsoft Partner of the Year awards, the most coveted partner award available globally. More than seven million cloud users, including a quarter of the Fortune 500, rely on AvePoint solutions to collaborate with confidence.

Business growth and success like AvePoint’s comes from a culture that bounds with creativity and passion. Through AvePoint Philanthropy as well as innovative programs like I.D.E.A., the company empowers its employees to champion countless local causes and international relief efforts, such as raising funds for disaster recovery in the Philippines and Australia.

After reading his interview with Microsoft in January 2020, we followed up with Dux Raymond Sy, Chief Brand Officer at AvePoint, to better understand the company’s passion and approach to diversity and philanthropy. We focused on AvePoint’s diversity and inclusivity best practices that can help you and your small, medium or large business unlock the power of your company’s values.

Formalize your approach and share it

Like so many organizations, AvePoint committed itself to support their community from the start. But as the company expanded globally, Dux worked with the People team to formalize their approach to supporting local communities and provide every employee the opportunity to participate.

Best practice: Supporting charities and causes makes a powerful impact on your brand and your internal business culture, inspiring pride and a greater sense of purpose and community. By formalizing your approach to philanthropy like AvePoint did, you can expand your impact, amplifying your efforts and improving the outcomes.

Taking a strategic approach to the causes you support can build equity and affinity for your brand while expanding the impact of your efforts.

Look within for the right solution

Dux benefitted from a global organization with a very multicultural set of employees and a history of dedicating itself to diversity and giving back to the communities it served. Instead of dampening or even attempting to redirect those efforts, Dux gave them—and the people at AvePoint supporting them—a stage. Now, all AvePoint employees, partners, and vendors can work together as one to make a much bigger impact, including raising a lot more money for their local fundraising efforts.

Best practice: Formalizing your approach does not mean reinventing the wheel or taking away anything from the activities you already do. On the contrary: Build on those existing activities and relationships. Take the time to identify and understand the diverse individuals in your organization. Also, take stock of the many ways your organization actively expresses its values today.

An inclusive business culture outperforms the competition. McKinsey and Company has published a multi-year report quantifying the benefits.

Empower your people to action

AvePoint does a brilliant job of empowering its people to advance the causes and concerns of most importance to them. And not every initiative is about raising money. The company also encourages its employees to share their expertise such as facilitating code camps at local schools or spearheading technology drives to benefit non-profits . By acting as ethical ambassadors of technology, they help advance diversity and inclusion in the tech industry.

Best practice: Apply a grassroots approach to empower and motivate your people to action. Every individual must see that their support helps to make someone’s world a better place. Importantly, you don’t have to break the bank. Even a cash-strapped startup can afford to invest their time, especially for a cause they believe in genuinely.

How diverse is your organization and your executive? How well do you communicate your commitment to inclusivity and diversity? Developing your own inclusivity plan with these Microsoft resources.

Embrace accessibility for differentiation

AvePoint is a progressive employer that embraces inclusivity and diversity in their hiring. This principled approach recognizes that unconscious bias may have kept organizations from hiring women, minorities, and people with disabilities. By consciously including these people in their employee mix, solution design, and every other aspect of operations, companies benefit in quantifiable ways, including more sales.

Best practice: Embrace accessibility as part of your diversity strategy. StatsCan reports that over six million Canadians over age 15 live with some sort of disability. This virtually untapped market is waiting for innovative businesses to capture their loyalty. An inclusive design approach can help differentiate your customer experience from your competitors. This best practice is recommended to all organizations, big or small.

Remember to practice what you preach. Values matter to all employees and they expect you to back up you say with meaningful action.

Get started with Microsoft diversity resources

Embrace inclusivity, diversity, and accessibility with these Microsoft resources:

AI for accessibility: https://www.microsoft.com/en-ca/ai/ai-for-accessibility

Accessibility website: https://www.microsoft.com/en-ca/accessibility

Accessibility blog: https://blogs.microsoft.com/accessibility/

Accessibility features: https://sway.office.com/vAdiAMXOJEQGVbqX

Inclusive hiring at Microsoft: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/diversity/inside-microsoft/cross-disability/hiring.aspx

Disability answer desk – users: https://support.microsoft.com/ca/accessibility/disability-answer-desk

Disability answer desk – enterprises: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/accessibility/enterprise-answer-desk

Disability support playbook: https://onedrive.live.com/?authkey=%21AI1PHw%5Fsfsl%5FEbs&cid=AAD86E727642BF50&id=AAD86E727642BF50%21325&parId=root&o=OneUp

Check out AvePoint’s blog

AvePoint offers some amazing resources to inspire your diversity journey:

Spread Kindness, Extend Grace and Be an Ally | AvePoint Blog

AvePoint’s Dux Raymond Sy on four ways to jumpstart diversity and inclusion: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/us-partner-blog/2020/01/08/avepoints-dux-raymond-sy-on-four-ways-to-jumpstart-diversity-and-inclusion-within-your-company/

“Unity In Diversity: 5 Steps to Turn Your I.D.E.A. Into Reality” blog post: http://avept.it/idea

“4 Ways to Give This #GivingTuesday” blog post: https://www.avepoint.com/blog/office-365/avepoint-giving-tuesday/