The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyard initiative is an important part of the culture we strive to have at Microsoft

Camilla Hillerup

Camilla Hillerup

HR Director

Læsetid, 3 min.

The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyard initiative is a vital part of Microsoft’s cultural attributes, signaling the need for patience and attention towards individuals who wear it.

The lanyards are available to everyone who enters the building, encouraging a culture where everyone feels seen and included. The initiative allows individuals to signal a hidden disability without having to go into further detail, and colleagues are encouraged to pay extra attention, send a smile, and embrace those who wear the lanyard. Microsoft aims to create a culture of embracement, patience, inclusion, and respect towards those who may need extra time and attention.  

A fundamental part of Microsoft’s culture 

At Microsoft, we place great emphasis on fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace culture, which is reflected in our core cultural attributes. The concept of diversity is defined as encompassing a wide range of individual differences, such as race, gender, age, and disabilities, while inclusion is how we behave towards each other making sure everyone feels seen and heard in a culture where individuals are empowered to contribute their unique perspectives, experiences, and skills, and everyone can be themselves and contribute to the team. I like the image that “You come where invited, stay where you are welcome”. To that end, the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyard initiative represents a fundamental part of our internal agenda and the culture we strive to promote at Microsoft. In my opinion, the initiative holds a duality in its values that is equally important both internally and externally. As such, we have made sure to provide access to the lanyards in our reception area, ensuring that everyone entering our building can wear one.  

The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyard initiative holds a significant value at Microsoft because what is not apparent is signaled with the lanyard and this creates the opportunity for a culture where we, as a company, make sure that everyone feels seen and paid attention to. Additionally, the initiative is important because it allows the person wearing the lanyard to have no obligation to explain why they are wearing it. In this way, one can signal their hidden disability without having to go into further detail. Ultimately, this is the kind of diversity and inclusion culture that we aspire to nurture at Microsoft, where everyone feels valued and respected, and where individual differences are celebrated as a strength. 

Smile and embrace

We all share the common goal of creating a welcoming and inclusive workplace culture where everyone feels valued and respected. However, it can be challenging to know how to act respectfully when encountering someone with a Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyard.  

Here are two points to bear in mind:   

  1. Be aware that wearing the lanyard does not necessarily imply that the person wishes to discuss their hidden disability or explain why they are wearing it. 
  2. When you meet someone who wears the Sunflower Lanyard pay extra attention, offer a warm smile, and make sure the individual feels seen and acknowledged. By doing so, you demonstrate our support and embrace those who are brave enough to wear the lanyard. 

I am proud of this initiative, and how this can support our desire to be an inclusive workplace. I urge you to join me in creating a culture where we prioritize patience and understanding, and where we embrace the ones who are brave enough to show us that they may need some extra time and patience. Together, we can create a truly inclusive and supportive workplace culture where everyone can thrive. 

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