Microsoft - forced curve stack ranking is brutal for regular employees. Cushy ride for managers | Glassdoor
Pros
Cons

Employee Review

Employee Review

Helpful (3)

"forced curve stack ranking is brutal for regular employees. Cushy ride for managers"

StarStarStarStarStar
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Career Opportunities
  • Comp & Benefits
  • Senior Management
Current Employee - Software Development Engineer in Redmond, WA
Current Employee - Software Development Engineer in Redmond, WA
Doesn't Recommend
Disapproves of CEO

Pros

good name recognition in your resume. get an idea of the scale of work in a big company.
If you are a manager it is cushy ride. If you are an employee very difficult for a developer due to constant deadlines and demands, OK for program manager and testers

Cons

too much process and bureaucratic. constant change in direction is normal. Common to reset the project direction every few months and start from scratch. Stack ranking (where employees are compared to each other in their level every few months and forced into a curve distribution) is brutal. If you are a developer here, you don't feel like you are competing with the other companies to deliver a better product , instead you are competing with your coworker. Coworkers will not help each other, instead will backstab each other so that they finish higher in the curve. It is a bit easier if you are a program manager, because you don't have any real deadlines. Developers have a deadline almost daily and put in crazy hours in most teams. Also easier if you are a lead, since you typically would delegate all work to reports, get credit for all successes but are typically not blamed for project failures,

Manager has to fill up a slot between 1 to 5 (performance grade) in their team by force. This is called stack ranking and is very political. About 2 months of the year, managers just spend time doing that. Typically they pick least favorite employees for 4 or 5 . And by HR rule , they have to contantly tell them they are underperforming so that those employees leave soon. Also internal transfers are only possible for people who get 1 or 2 rating. The other employees are ignored during internal applications.

There are also many ethnic cabals inside there.
There is also an official internal effort to force out older employees and replace they with younger employees. For managers though, there is no such effort. Managers are treated as gods by the company.

Advice to Management

abolish forced curve rating. Have an simple performance rating based on "did he meet all his deadlines and deliverable" . Also make managers more accountable.

Other Employee Reviews

Other Employee Reviews

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Great Place to Work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Redmond, WA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Redmond, WA
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    - Smart and Motivated People.
    - Good Benefits
    - Work Flexibility.
    - Multiple Options

    Cons

    - Seattle Weather.
    - Outside the Tech Hub of the Bay Area.
    - Not a startup.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Great to learn SDLC, growth is limited"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Program Manager in Redmond, WA
    Current Employee - Senior Program Manager in Redmond, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Stability, work-life balance, builds solid products

    Cons

    Plays catchup with new technology

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