Microsoft

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Microsoft Reviews

Updated January 27, 2015
Updated January 27, 2015
9,002 Reviews
3.7
9,002 Reviews
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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
Satya Nadella
1,461 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Really good work-life balance compared to other tech companies of the same caliber (in 859 reviews)

  • You will get the opportunity to work with smart people solving real world problems (in 991 reviews)


Cons
  • Work life balance is not good in some places but it really depends on your role (in 552 reviews)

  • Performance review system basically encourage competition inside the team (in 400 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 452 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 (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. 3 people found this helpful  

    Great place to work

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

    I have been working at Microsoft

    Pros

    Company is very forward-looking with the new leadership (Satya). Culture is rapidly evolving to be caught up with, or ahead of, the competition. Wide reach, with lots of opportunities to make an impact on the world.

    Time-off is very flexible. Work-life balance is well managed on most teams.

    Cons

    Lots of legacy/historical process slowing down the company, making work frustrating at times. Currently a lot of churn to reach "ideal state" as quickly as possible (as mentioned in the pros). Company culture is still not very in-tune with the rest of the market and how competitors do their business at a tactical level, but this is improving in the last year.

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

    A decent place to work in

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

    I worked at Microsoft

    Pros

    work life balance is good

    Cons

    too much re-org
    leadership changes too often

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great company but is moving slowly

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Microsoft

    Pros

    Great products and smart people

    Cons

    not so good management hierachy and review system

  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    A great place to learn for life

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

    I worked at Microsoft full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    I don't think there is anyplace I could have worked and learned so much and felt like I made such a big impact to the world of technology. I grew at Microsoft in so many ways.

     - It is a wonderful place to become immersed in multiple game changing technologies.
     - Few places offer such a rich and diverse workforce allowing you to learn how to work with people better. Something that is more valuable and will last longer than any technology.
     - Microsoft allows you to take training, stay on top of new trends and grow you strengths.
     - There is always someone who can help. There is a vast wealth of material on hand for research to get you started on new projects quicker, pointed in the right direction, or help you out of a jam.
     - Good corporate values

    Cons

    - If you are in a group that is in a cost center, and particularly if costs are being cut, then the only way you can grow is often for someone else to shrink. This has incented poor behavior in some places.
     - There is no end to work, that is making your project and yourself better. Balance that with your management. You need to balance work/life or it can get out of control.
    - it is not a meritocracy, you will need to network and sponsors to protect and promote your career just as much as doing good work.
    - rewards are very tied to making your direct management chain better. If you helped another team outside your direct managements unbrella do well, you often are not rewarded for that.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - Let's hope the changes in the review system foster collaboration, focus on the customer, and focus on external competition. Too often the system in place and management that relied on it to make high level decisions forced the company into internal competition versus external competition or enabling innovation.
    - To de-invest requires and up front investment. Too often the ask to cut back comes before there is an ability to simplify or automate first thereby allowing for a de-investment that is painless to the customer.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Great Place to Work

    • 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

    Pros

    Exciting work, great pay and benefits, ability to use new technology. Microsoft is a place where you can easily move around to work on new challenges when you are ready.

    Cons

    Lack of free food that is seen in many tech companies. Health care is no longer free, but they do provide money each year to cover a portion of what you might have to pay, so you just have to save that up for 2 years to no longer have to pay anything out of pocket.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Provide free snacks.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Great company, on a great growth curve, and willing to learn and improve

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

    I worked at Microsoft as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    Comfortable work-life balance, good impact, positive team environment

    Cons

    Can feel slow and bureaucratic sometimes, doesn't move as fast as some peers

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Great overall strategy and vision, do push teams to move faster and allow some kind of experimentation to unlock a lot of innovation

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Best company to work for

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

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

    Pros

    smart people and lots of things to do if you want to change fields or roles

    Cons

    Nothing major just the usual politics of a big company

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    A cog in a wheel of a machine that believes it can have impact on everyone who touches technology

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

    I worked at Microsoft full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    - Surrounded by smart people
    - A respected company (for the most part)
    - Is still ambitious and willing to re-invent itself
    - Still believes in its self and the organizations capability to change and compete

    Cons

    - It's trying to do too many things and therefore does most of them only average
    - Management seems to re-invent product strategies every 6 months (including re-orgs) and as a consequence really only worried about H1 (H2 is about re-thinking a strategy)
    - It's hard to manage your career as even with the new evaluation systems you are compared to others... but you don't really know who they are. So every year, bonus time is a surprise
    - Everything is measured and data is manipulated to make decisions. Very few people who know an industry and can make decisions that are obvious rather than go through a 3 month process to discuss it.
    - Finding a new job internally is all about the network. HR provides no support.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I like the new open approach to competing platforms. But there needs to be a clear 3 year product strategy and plan that isn't just known by execs. Keep to the plan and stop reinventing.

    As for personal development there should be a mentor assigned who's also measured on your performance year over year.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    A truly amazing company with lots of talent, potential and significant contributions to tech, research & community

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

    I worked at Microsoft full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Solid corporate values, pretty decent work life balance, lots of opportunity for learning career development and strong professional network

    Cons

    The company is so diverse and fragmented that working across internal boundaries is pretty challenging and can come in the way of success (individual and org). Team or individual failure is hardly seen as an opportunity to learn, rather a way to point fingers and weed out

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    1. Fail fast, retrospect and learn quickly together as a team and move on.
    2. Beware of sunk cost fallacy.
    3. Attempt inverse stack ranking for managers evaluated by direct reports and skip (up to 1 level below) - an alternate way to redistribute power across the pyramid and a scientific way with empirical data to normalize inputs and decision making by managers.
    4. Start thinking about building brand awareness and loyalty globally with customers through relevance as early as childhood, preferably earlier - touch points with Windows, Office and Mobile happen much later. Mindshare for competitive products and services is already pretty much prebaked at that point

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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