Microsoft Reviews in Seattle, WA

Updated August 28, 2014
Updated August 28, 2014
7,978 Reviews

3.8
7,978 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
Satya Nadella
813 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

1,489 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 335 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. 1 person found this helpful  

    Moving in the right direction

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

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

    Pros

    Pay is excellent. Work-life balance is what you make it; always been fine for me. Benefits quite good, but medical not as good as it used to be. Culture varies from group to group; my current group is excellent.

    Cons

    The company doesn't have quite the creative edge it once did. Sometimes it blunders big, yet manages to survive because of its sheer size and wealth. Management above a certain level tends to lose sight of reality, so can end up doing the wrong thing, like laying off and rewarding the wrong people.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep driving the culture shift. Make the things Nadella says show up as truth for the ground troops, not just rhetoric from the CEO.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 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
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  5. 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
  6. 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
  7.  

    Generally good pay and benefits with semi-exciting projects to work on.

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

    I have been working at Microsoft full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Base pay and benefits are good if you know how to negotiate. I feel in general the culture and company as a whole tries to do the right thing and act like a responsible tech company. I like the matching program where any of your donations are matched 100% up to a certain amount.

    Cons

    What folks say about the political environment is generally true. It seems that getting things done can take longer than you think it should at a tech company. I am hopeful with Satya at the helm things will change for the better.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    For middle and upper level managers I would say get a better pulse of what your IC's are thinking.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    I have been in various business roles in 10+ years including customer service, manager of teams, and project management.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Business Project Manager  in  Bellevue, WA
    Current Employee - Business Project Manager in Bellevue, WA

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

    Pros

    Overall package of benefits (connector bus/bus pass, salary, bonuses, flex schedule, vacation, holidays, med/dental, prime card, gym membership discount, tuition reimbursement, charity/giving matching 1:1, 401k, ESPP, etc.) is AMAZING.
    Ability for personal & professional growth - ex. ability to find new roles or just new project opportunities within the company or same division or even in current role. Training & possibility for assistance toward certification exams.
    The people - For the most part, I have greatly enjoyed working with my partners and peers. I have been part of some amazing teams (high performing, high morale).

    Cons

    Like any big company there are teams that are not enjoyable to work with/in - poor leadership, poor team morale, no clear direction - so just do your homework about how the manager manages for success, what the state is of team morale (WHI - workplace health index), etc.
    Work-life balance - In the early days I found this very hard to manage but I learned to own this and was very effective at generally staying within a 40-45 hr work week --- except in key peak business times where I would very willingly put in more time as needed. You have to be able to manage your time effectively and push-back BEFORE you are too over-committed / overwhelmed. More people need to learn how to say "no" (nicely) and educate against competing priorities & resource constraints. The business is very fast-paced and very rarely will you have someone else who can effectively ensure there is balance - so you need to do it for yourself. Managers (good ones at least) will work with you on this balance as they don't want you overwhelmed either at the risk of poor quality, missing deliverables, or lack of "white space" to come up with needed solutions.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    As acquisitions take place, please immediately bring in training on management excellence to new leaders. Keep up the great work on driving toward management excellence with existing staff.
    Better alignment across big projects to avoid a lot of work getting started and then put on hold because another big initiative is being started. Sometimes that happens and is okay to take advantage of sudden new market opportunities but most times it has just been a new "idea" or new "executive" trying to make their mark. Keep focused on items already committed to and underway.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    Pays decently with nice benefit/perks

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

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

    Pros

    Salary is good compared to other companies in the area. Medical benefit is still one of the best and provide nice perks.

    Cons

    work/life balance can be little better.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10.  

    Excellent People and Technology Leaders

    • 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 5 years

    Pros

    Pay is very good did not "low ball" me when they made my initial offer.
    Depending on which team you work in there is room for advancement.
    Excellent chance to collaborate once you learn the structure of the division and teams in the company.
    Some of the brightest people I've ever met work or have worked there, one can learn a lot form these guys.

    Cons

    Any division that has been around for more than a decade typically will be stagnant in management from the Director level and above.
    Monopolistic perspective creates a very protectionist culture which has lead to some amount of stagnation and disregard for user experiences in the consumer marketplace.
    Tendency to use customers as "testers" assuming they can quickly get feedback and make adjustments, which is not always the case.
    Does not particularly value "the creative" perspective: this is a business company.
    Quick to take up new projects, but also very quick to end them (and their teams) and if it's not bleeding edge, it's practically ignored, e.g. XBOX 360 innovation and support is practically non-existent.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The customer should always come first; so many bad customer experiences is why it is difficult to break into consumer space and why reputation is poor for many products. There's a real tendency to treat people as commodities that can be disposed of and treated like physical assets.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11.  

    Good place to work!

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

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

    Pros

    Some very smart people work here. Breadth of things you can work on is almost infinite.

    Cons

    Too much politics. People spend more time trying to gain "visibility" than doing actual work. Managers hold too much power over their reports ad can destroy their career.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take care of the employees. Pay them well and listen to their grievances. Stop trying to do everything and instead focus on core products

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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