Microsoft
3.6 of 5 7,025 reviews
www.microsoft.com Redmond, WA 5000+ Employees

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6 people found this helpful  

Very good benefits, but not very good review policies

Software Development Engineer In Test (Former Employee)
Redmond, WA

I worked at Microsoft full-time for more than 5 years

ProsIt 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.

ConsThe 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 Senior ManagementFix 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!

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

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


Pros: Stable, good salary and health care, nice neighborhood Cons: Not many good opportunity as the company is slowing down Advice to Senior Management: Fix the review system No, I would not recommend this company to a friend More

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Developers should love this place

Senior Marketing Manager (Current Employee)
Redmond, WA

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


Pros: Great benefits, world-class campus facilities, smart people, flexible hours. Opportunity is there to have a lifelong career which is rare these days. While many chide… Cons: Engineers are the kings but this makes sense because the founders were developers. Typical politics and gaming that you'd… Advice to Senior Management: Focus on your customers, not profits. Figure out what the heck… Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend More

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