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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. (GeekWire Photo / Nat Levy)

Microsoft’s workplace culture is under a magnifying glass now that emails from dozens of women have surfaced with damning stories of harassment and discrimination within the company. But Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says the team is committed to doing the “hard work” to build a more inclusive workplace.

Speaking Thursday at the University of Nebraska, Nadella said Microsoft is making inclusion a “core priority” and pursuing it in the same way he would set out “to achieve a set of business metrics.”

“Inclusion happens when … you are showing up, you are being an ally, a mentor, you are really creating, through your everyday actions, a more inclusive environment,” he said. “That’s the journey we are on. That’s the hard work. It’s hard to change it overnight but to recognize that that’s the journey we’re on is something that’s very, very exciting.”

On Monday, Nadella sent a memo to employees detailing the company’s plans to overhaul how HR pursues investigations of employee misconduct.

The note did not directly address the harassment complaints, which were sparked by an employee who had been in the same position for six years. She sent an email asking other women at Microsoft for advice on how to move up in the organization. That turned into a thread where employees shared their own frustrations about the company’s culture.

“In 2019, I feel something markedly is different around this topic of diversity and inclusion but more importantly around the action around diversity and inclusion,” Nadella said Thursday. “Five years from now, maybe even less … the workplace in tech is going to be very transformed, very different, and it’s going to be much better for all of us.”

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