Microsoft Reviews in Seattle, WA

Updated August 26, 2014
Updated August 26, 2014
7,932 Reviews

3.8
7,932 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
Satya Nadella
781 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Really good work-life balance compared to other tech companies of the same caliber (in 688 reviews)

  • Tons of super smart people working for the right reasons - to make a difference (in 893 reviews)


Cons
  • And there are times when the workload may impede on your work-life balance (in 476 reviews)

  • The previous stack rank review system encourage a behavior that was very much individualist (in 369 reviews)

More Highlights

1,482 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 333 people found this helpful  

    Thoughts after 10 years....

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Redmond, WA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Redmond, WA

    I have been working at Microsoft full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    1. If you love tech, this is a great place. No doubt you'll talk tech (mostly the MSFT stack) from enterprise to consumer - from PCs to phones to Xboxes - from datacenter to desktop.

    2. What were GREAT benefits are now VERY GOOD (took a small step down) but still probably better than you'll find at 99% of large corporations. If you've got family - the value of the benefits is even higher. 401k match is nice.

    3. Even with it's struggles MSFT is still a cash printing machine. This means if you can keep your nose clean and do reasonable work, you can have a stable job, pay your bills, feed your family, and not worry (too much) about layoffs. The stock you own likely won't tank, but probably won't go up much either. You'll get a bonus each year and some stock. It's a decent life if you aren't looking to light the world on fire.

    Cons

    Brand on Your Resume: After many years of losing market share and struggling to be at the front end of innovation and the fact that there's 90,000 employees, don't think MSFT is necessarily going to be attractive on your resume to more agile and smaller companies.

    Managing Your Career: Make you say this out loud so it registers - 90,000 employees work there. Double that for vendors. It is VERY hard to "stand out" and move up in the company. Don't expect your manager to be much of an advocate or enabler to help you meet your career goals - they are basically trying to survive the stack rank every year too. Not familiar with the stack rank? Check out the 2012 Vanity Fair article called "Microsoft's Lost Decade".

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I'll type it here - but I don't they are listening...
    1. Help proven talent move laterally in the company for new opportunities.
    2. Kill/evolve the stack rank. Here's basically how it's viewed:. 30% of the company gets 1s and 2s - and they are happy. 50% get 3s and that basically feels like getting a "C" in school. This sucks for talented people when a multitude of UNCONTROLLABLE conditions keep you from getting into 1 or 2 range. The 20% getting anything below a 3 are walking dead. In summary, 70% of the company walk away from the review cycle feeling like crap. This is no good.

    After 10 years, I'm leaving - it's just a matter of time until I find the right opportunity. I need to find a company spends 90% of it's time building technology experiences, as opposed to 90% of its time building PowerPoints. And I expect to refuse the exit interview - because if you really cared what I thought, you wouldn't ask me after I decided to leave.

  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    Challenging, broad

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Principal Software Design Engineer  in  Redmond, WA
    Current Employee - Principal Software Design Engineer in Redmond, WA

    I have been working at Microsoft full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    There are two things about Microsoft that make it top notch for software engineering.

    The first is the focus on the business. This may seem counterintuitive but the business focus is an excellent lens through which to look at software design and execution. I previously worked at a company which was arguably a better engineering company but the lack of business focus led to software projects not having longevity and ultimately to the collapse of the company.

    The second is the people. It's said that if you are a jazz musician and you're the best in your band, you need to change bands. There is very little danger of topping out in Microsoft. There are always excellent skilled engineers to challenge you.

    Cons

    Microsoft leadership stalled for a decade or so where more focus was paid to just business rather than a balance of business and engineering. The top echelons of compensation are epic; competition is fierce and winning is defined by profitability which has led to thinning of the product herd to only the most obviously profitable (or necessary) investments. Satya's leadership has hope of changing this but when you see references to Microsoft's environment being "toxic" this is the root cause with the old stack ranking system in a supporting role.

    Work life balance is clearly your problem. If you are ambitious and/or energetic there is always benefit to trading the work/life balance for work but it can eat you alive. Do not look for your organization to guard your own work/life balance, it's up to you (as it should be but be cautioned).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop the focus on profit even if it has negative ramifications on stock price. Use a lower stock price to reacquire ownership of the company in a stock buy back. The competition is growth and share focused, not profit focused.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Top heavy but an amazing company to work for

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Optical Engineer  in  Redmond, WA
    Current Employee - Optical Engineer in Redmond, WA

    I have been working at Microsoft full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Flexibility in your schedule is simply amazing. Great pay and benefits. There are opportunities to take your career to any direction you desire.

    Cons

    way too many managers and poor communication

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    flatten organization. Promote communication between groups

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    You are good if your Manager recognizes your work if not you don't belong here

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA

    I worked at Microsoft full-time

    Pros

    Work with all the smartest people around and you continuously learn.

    Cons

    Company has lot of vision, but the management chain doesn't know how to execute. Trying to compete directly with competitors and show differentiation in a hurry without proper thinking. Once higher up the chain decides something to execute your effort to challenge the decision is impossible and execution will always be forced on you.

    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6.  

    Great Talent! Great Benefits! Great Career Development Opportunities! Great Culture!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Human Resources Manager  in  Redmond, WA
    Current Employee - Human Resources Manager in Redmond, WA

    I have been working at Microsoft full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    Microsoft is a great place if you want to really change the world and make a big impact! You can drive changes in product vision, strategy, influence the leadership and get to work on cool stuff. The best part is that you can work in any part of the world and take your career across different roles/functions. It is only limited to ones own capabilities as it offers a great infrastructure for talent mobility and helps move people around the world. The Talent is exceptional and you get to work with really smart people. The Benefits are best in class which makes it tough to even consider leaving, Microsoft spoils you. The culture is consistent of what you will experience in any part of the world, good or bad. Its a great place for interns or college hires to get exposed to get mentored from senior leaders. Worklife flexibility is excellent as well, you can pretty much work from anywhere as long as someone knows how to reach you.

    Cons

    Working in the matrix can be tough for new joiners and takes a while to navigate the org. This is a big company so change is tough, it does take time and there is a lot of legacy, so while it helps to manage the chaos, it doesn't help in this digital age of constant change. The culture is shifting and the new CEO is bringing about a lot of positive changes. The compensation is not competitive anymore and the stocks offered are not inline with market competition. Finding a job internally needs a skill and it really needs to be solved for.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Great to see the efforts to streamline and flatten the org, continue to focus on compensation and being more competitive in the market in order to attract and retain top Sales and Engineering talent. Need to encourage people to take time off and make it easy to access the leadership more often.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Quit after 7years at Microsoft

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Software Development Engineer  in  Redmond, WA
    Current Employee - Senior Software Development Engineer in Redmond, WA

    I have been working at Microsoft full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Very nice green card policy.
    Good benefits.

    Cons

    Too many incompentent managers/leads who don't know how to stimulate people.
    Serious nepotism and office politics.
    More chance/reward is given to people only good at making show than to people contribute most but not so good at selling themselves.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Cut at least half of the managers and make management hierarchy not more than 4 levels.
    Correct the rewarding system: let people contribute most are rewarded appropriately.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  8.  

    17 year veteran

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Development Engineer  in  Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Software Development Engineer in Seattle, WA

    I worked at Microsoft full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    * well-funded and mostly stable
    * industry leader and maker
    * intelligent, good people to work with
    * very good health care
    * free drinks

    Cons

    * no longer or not industry leading in most categories
    * projects not always tied to customer results (solutions without problems)
    * playing catch-u[p in cloud computing
    * poor management and leadership
    * company plays on the defensive

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The company has been too tame since the anti-trust trials. The company needs to get back to its roots of being aggressive: embrace and extend, and vigorous integration/bundling of technologies. Don't let the leadership in Windows and Office go unused as a platform.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great opportunity, poor execution

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Redmond, WA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Redmond, WA

    I have been working at Microsoft full-time

    Pros

    Huge company with a lot to offer, great pay. Culture varies by group. Opportunities to move. Great changes to senior management recently

    Cons

    Heirarchical, each role is very niche, trying to change but up hill battle with ingrained culture.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Software Development Engineer  in  Redmond, WA
    Former Employee - Senior Software Development Engineer in Redmond, WA

    I worked at Microsoft full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Good compensation and benefits. Lots of bright people around. Lots of opportunities to learn. Flexible work hours. And things are changing for the better slowly, but steadily.

    Cons

    The old review system sucked big time and distracted lots of talent. Politics are still strong too. Career is #1 concern for many.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    1. Fix the review system. Make people focus on product, not career.
    2. Engineers should drive the company, not the PowerPoint monkeys.
    3. Innovate. Stop chasing market leaders. All those iPhone, etc. "killers" are ridiculous.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great place to work and gain experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer In Test (SDET) II  in  Redmond, WA
    Current Employee - Software Development Engineer In Test (SDET) II in Redmond, WA

    I have been working at Microsoft full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Good company with plenty of opportunities and good benefits.

    Cons

    Although they are working on it, the yearly performance review system just plain sucks. They used a bell curve ranking system reminiscent of high school thus in order for someone to exceed, someone must fail even if that person was an otherwise good and skilled worker. The review system also tends to favor the butt kissers and brown nosers more then the people with actual technical talent and skill that are making the products successful. Do a good job, meet all your deadlines, and solve all the problems and you'll be rewarded as "average". But if you cc upper management in every e-mail, bragging about your minor accomplishments, you get rewarded, even if you failed to meet many deadlines and couldn't finish half your tasks.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It's fairly obvious that the old stack ranking mentality is still stuck in the heads of many in upper management so it may be a couple years before the new review system can be considered fair to everyone.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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