BREAKING NEWS. Microsoft has completed torn down the employee ranking system. If you’re not familiar with the system, Microsoft has for quite some time been using a heretical ranking system which highlights individuals that perform very well within the company. The point of the system was to keep competition fluid and alive and to discourage slacking off, of course. I also imagine that this was a clever method of singling out down-sizing candidates. After all, a company of 100k plus people, without a doubt, is constantly trimming the population to avoid over staffing. The system may have been affective in some sense, but it definitely had its flaws.
Although competition may be a good way to push innovation timeliness forward in a company as large as Microsoft’s, there has definitely been a tribal warfare going on in Redmond for quite some time. Imagine if you could receive a healthy bonus for performing better than individuals in your department, or even in your small team. I, for one, would be somewhat defensive about my work and ideas, and I would fight to get the recognition I deserved each and every time the opportunity arise. Well, this is much of the culture that many employees claim exists at Microsoft. The ranking system has effectively turned Microsoft into a careers cannibalistic atmosphere, where product teams are competing opposed to deeply collaborating. Its pretty interesting how capitalism (or in this case, successism) seems to work perfectly fine in the government, but then within organizations/teams, a mix of communism and slight sucessism tend to be the go-to employee model. Nevertheless, the move is definitely a smart one for Microsoft, and it adds to a long list of future proof modifications to its reputation both inside and out.
Along with the detonation of the ranking system came a system based off of teamwork and individual growth…. you know, the ‘happy’ stuff 🙂 This definitely makes Microsoft seem like a happier environment depending on how seriously they implement the new model. You didn’t get the memo? Check it out below! Microsoft highlights how the changes should unify the company and bring them closer to their vision of being “One Microsoft”- which I couldn’t be more in favor of. There is no question that Microsoft suffers from multiple personalities disorder. To the normal consumer, Office, Xbox, Windows, and MSN are completely different companies…. Trust me, I’ve given micro-surveys on occasion. This may not be the solution to all of their fragmentation problems, but it definitely is concentrating on the root (the employees) and is a necessary step to making major change down the road.
To Global Employees,
I am pleased to announce that we are changing our performance review program to better align with the goals of our One Microsoft strategy. The changes we are making are important and necessary as we work to deliver innovation and value to customers through more connected engagement across the company.
This is a fundamentally new approach to performance and development designed to promote new levels of teamwork and agility for breakthrough business impact. We have taken feedback from thousands of employees over the past few years, we have reviewed numerous external programs and practices, and have sought to determine the best way to make sure our feedback mechanisms support our company goals and objectives. This change is an important step in continuing to create the best possible environment for our world-class talent to take on the toughest challenges and do world-changing work.
Here are the key elements:
More emphasis on teamwork and collaboration. We’re getting more specific about how we think about successful performance and are focusing on three elements – not just the work you do on your own, but also how you leverage input and ideas from others, and what you contribute to others’ success – and how they add up to greater business impact.
More emphasis on employee growth and development. Through a process called “Connects” we are optimizing for more timely feedback and meaningful discussions to help employees learn in the moment, grow and drive great results. These will be timed based on the rhythm of each part of our business, introducing more flexibility in how and when we discuss performance and development rather than following one timeline for the whole company. Our business cycles have accelerated and our teams operate on different schedules, and the new approach will accommodate that.
No more curve.We will continue to invest in a generous rewards budget, but there will no longer be a pre-determined targeted distribution. Managers and leaders will have flexibility to allocate rewards in the manner that best reflects the performance of their teams and individuals, as long as they stay within their compensation budget.
No more ratings. This will let us focus on what matters – having a deeper understanding of the impact we’ve made and our opportunities to grow and improve.
We will continue to align our rewards to the fiscal year, so there will be no change in timing for your rewards conversation with your manager, or when rewards are paid. And we will continue to ensure that our employees who make the most impact to the business will receive truly great compensation.
Just like any other company with a defined budget for compensation, we will continue to need to make decisions about how to allocate annual rewards. Our new approach will make it easier for managers and leaders to allocate rewards in a manner that reflects the unique contributions of their employees and teams.
I look forward to sharing more detail with you at the Town Hall, and to bringing the new approach to life with leaders across the company. We will transition starting today, and you will hear from your leadership in the coming days about next steps for how the transition will look in your business. We are also briefing managers and will continue to provide them with resources to answer questions and support you as we transition to this approach.
I’m excited about this new approach that’s supported by the Senior Leadership Team and my HR Leadership Team, and I hope you are too. Coming together in this way will reaffirm Microsoft as one of the greatest places to work in the world.
There is nothing we cannot accomplish when we work together as One Microsoft.