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Helpful (6)

Very good benefits, but not very good review policies

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

I worked at Microsoft full-time (More than 5 years)

Recommends
Positive Outlook
Disapproves of CEO
Recommends
Positive Outlook
Disapproves of CEO

Pros

It has amazing benefits. It has gone down starting 2013 because healthcare is no longer 100% supported, and that's a huge step down, but other than that it has amazing benefits. You work in a rich company, you often get offices, you can easily get very good quality multiple monitors and desktops, you keep getting other freebies.

People there are very smart, you can learn a lot. Also, since we are working within Microsoft, most of Microsoft's latest technologies is readily and freely available to its employees to use in their teams. Most teams constantly try to keep up to date with the latest technologies and releases, so you are able to work on cutting edge technologies more easily than in smaller companies that can't afford to keep upgrading their Microsoft products every 2 years.

Cons

The biggest con for me is the stack ranking. There are 5 levels - 1 to 5, 1 being the best and 5 being the worst. Every team will have at least a few people getting a 1. This puts a continuous pressure throughout the year to compete with your immediate peers. Competition is always there in all companies, sure, but with stack ranking it is much more so because if you don't do better than your immediate collegues you will get a low rank. This discourages team work.

The other con is the fact that the review process is very harsh on people who have ever performed poorly. If you have gotten bad reviews in earlier years, it will affect your review this year. To me that doesn't make sense. If you did well this year, you should get rewarded for it. In 2012 they finally changed a system which affected all senior people in the company, because they used to take into consideration your potential for promotion, and senior level employees don't necessarily have that kind of opportunity for promotion. Now they don't take the future into account, but they take into account previous years.

The third issue is that if you remain at a level for too long, it affects your review as well. It is similar to the previous point, except that this is specifically about staying at a level, not just the review scores. You don't get a good review, or you don't get a promotion too easily, because you did not move up the promo ladder fast enough. This means that you can't stay in the company and do your job and be fine with it, you have to constantly try for a promotion, you have to constantly compete with your friends.

Of course, you have to work hard, and no matter how hard you work, you always feel guilty that you didn't do enough. You're always on, never fully relaxed. Maybe that's just me.

The last, painful point is that your entire review/promo life depends on your manager. If the manager has something against you, you are stuck, even if you are a good employee. The manager holds the power to tell you what the good projects are that you should work on, where people are looking ahead to. Other managers won't tell you because they want their directs to do well. This cut throat competition makes it hard for someone who landed a manager he can't work with. Once you join a team you can't typically switch to another team before a year, and the manager has the right to keep you for one and a half years. So it ends up being slow.

Advice to Management

Fix the review system so teamwork is possible! And instead of just talking about work-life balance, make it so people can actually relax in the evenings and weekends!

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  1. Helpful (1)

    Mixed feelings

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

    I worked at Microsoft full-time (More than a year)

    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    solid stable company with steady revenue stream

    Cons

    too much politics and favoritism not enough original ideas and innovation. No vision for growth.

    Advice to Management

    fix the culture. get rid of groups of pals who watch each other's back instead of looking after company's interests.

  2. Start-up gone Blue-chip

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

    I have been working at Microsoft full-time (More than 10 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Many different opportunities, great community involvement, free soda

    Cons

    review system doesn't compensate effectively, inordinate process

There are newer employer reviews for Microsoft
There are newer employer reviews for Microsoft

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