Microsoft Case Study Sample Employee Motivation

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Microsoft Case Study Sample: Employee Motivation

Employee Motivation and Retention Strategies at Microsoft


Over time computers have proved to be vital in almost every line of work. The technology sector has experienced tremendous transformations making computers to carry out various crucial tasks in organizations. This has made organizations to base their tasks and responsibilities on computers for they enhance competitive advantage features. Computers have many beneficial features that enhance efficiency in the activities of organizations. This has showed that organizations are ready to invest heavily on computer based operations to attain their objectives efficiently. The computer software industry has changed over the years as it is very competitive and many organizations aim at meeting the expectations of the consumer in the best way possible.

Microsoft has proved to be ahead in the computer software industry for it is reliable and progressive organization all over the globe.

Microsoft has transformed into a global empire since its formation in 1975 by Bill Gates in the computer industry. Microsoft has managed to align itself with the prevailing conditions in the computer industry to meet the expectations of consumers. The company has managed to meet the needs of consumers worldwide due to its skilled manpower and huge resources that are able to address a wide variety of aspects in the computing world. Microsoft has faced competition from various organizations in the industry but it has managed to prove itself as a global leader over years in meeting computing needs of consumers. Microsoft has managed to stay strong and profitable since its formation due to a firm leadership that optimizes the available opportunities. Although the company faced financial crisis, it managed to overcome the challenge and still continue to dominate the industry. As Microsoft is maximizing its profits and enhanced global research, it is evident the company will continue to enhance its dominance in the software and hardware industry over the years to come. The aim of the paper is to focus on employee motivation and retention strategies at Microsoft.

Literature review

Organizational Culture and Human Resource Management in Microsoft

The software and hardware industry in computing was largely dominated by IBM during the 1990s. Microsoft faced a stiff competition with the other organizations in the industry and had to review its organizational culture to have an advantageous edge (Ananthan & Sudheendra 2011, 122). This has proved to be effective as the company managed to become dominant in the competitive industry while companies like IBM trying to catch up with the rest. Microsoft has managed to gain an upper hand by taking advantage of the weaknesses of IBM in the computer industry. IBM did not take into account an organizational culture that would enhance long term sustainability, but focused only in enhancing profitability. IBM ventured more on meeting the expectations of the consumers so that they could optimize profits while not focusing on employee development to have an advantage edge over other organizations. IBM wanted to develop world class computers that would be difficult to copy and appreciated by the consumers. The objective of IBM was not attained as the public received mild receptions of the software and hardware computing products. The products were below the expectations of the consumers hence reduced the expected profitability level yet IBM had invested heavily. This made it difficult for IBM to carry out their operations giving Microsoft and opportunity to dominate the global market.

Bill Gates focused on strengthening the organizational culture of Microsoft for long term sustainability and success. This played a key role in nurturing the values of the company for they have been the foundation of success in the company towards becoming a global leader the computing industry. Bill Gates also focused on ensuring the environment where employees worked could bring optimal results through their skills and capabilities. This played a significant role in the growth of the company in its operations in the globe. The company managed to compete competitively in long term as some of the company such as IBM could not keep up with the fast transforming technology industry. The organizational culture in Microsoft made it possible to develop a strong relationship between employees and the management. Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, understood the significance of establishing an organizational culture that would ensure long term success and existence of the company. The enhanced relationship of employees and the management in the company by Bill Gates ensured that the company had a common objective to meet in the industry. The more the company was in existence the relationship got stronger and stronger in understanding the best way it would align to the prevailing conditions in the computer industry. This gave Microsoft an advantage edge in making it a leading company in the hardware and software company.

The company faced several challenges prior to their success of becoming a global leader in the computer industry. The management of Microsoft in the end of 1990s initiated a massive reorganization of the company to easily meet the needs and expectations of consumers easily. The major reason for the company transforming its strategy and practice of developing high quality software and hardware computer products was to focus on the preferences and interests of its consumers. The management of Microsoft emphasized that it was important to undergo major transformation to counter the challenges that they faced in the competitive hardware and software industry. The company transformation made it to be in a better position of accomplishing the needs and expectations of its consumers all over the globe. The reorganization of the company also faced challenges as they viewed it to have other intentions. The management of the company was facing difficulties in controlling employees so critics thought they were trying to address the issue. The company restricting itself, the management focused on enhancing the enthusiasm of employees in the organization by offering opportunities that would bring optimal results in the capabilities and skills (DeCenzo 2006, 65). This was crucial for the company to attain success by employees optimizing on their skills.

Majority of plans and choices before the reorganization of the company were made by the corporate leaders. It was important for the organization to review the aspect to attain flexibility in the operations. This would offer employees an opportunity to give their views as they were the ones carrying out significant amount of work. Through consultation with employees and supervisors it was easier for the organization to come up with excellent decisions that would prove beneficial to the organization. The company decentralizing their operations believed it would improve the process of decision making for it would inspire the employees and the management. This was a vital platform of reigniting the passion of employees that had lost to carry out their responsibilities in the best possible way. The strategies the company had adopted had slowed down the pace growth in the operations of the company worldwide hence the need to review to motivate employees to increase their output.

Microsoft in the end of the 1990s had to deal with the challenge of many of its top management employees deciding to end their careers, and some joining rival companies in better career opportunities. This was a problem the company had to address to continue being a global leader in the computer industry as they were the competent individuals that had propelled the company to the position it was currently. The employees had valuable contributions to the company and it had started focusing on profitability while reducing concerns on the needs and expectations of workers that made it profitable (Tayeb 2005, 31). This made several employees to become frustrated and disappointed and decided to quit their jobs and seek better employment opportunities in rival organizations.

Microsoft Human Resource Management Problems

Microsoft has faced various problems in its human resource organizational culture. The human resource strategies and practices in relation to employee motivation and retention faced problems during the beginning of the 21st century when the company had started to grow rapidly. Some of the problems Microsoft faced in human resource management include:

1. Politics and bureaucracy.

As the company expanded its operations globally, it continued to recruit more employees to handle the increased volume of operations to meet the intended objectives easily. This made the company to hire the most competent and skilled individuals to improve its recruitment process. This was crucial for the organization to maintain its position as a global leader in computer hardware and software industry all over the global (Kavitha, Geetha & Arunachalam 2011, 763). Initially, handling the diverse and huge workforce in the company was advantageous as it was able to maintain its profitability level all over the globe. The improved process of recruitment ensured that only the best employee was in every position. However, the diverse and huge workforce proved to be an obstacle for individuals aspiring to enhance their career development through promotions. As individuals got promoted to their dream positions, they got frustrated for they stayed there for a long period. This led to lobbying for the positions for those who were desperate to get promoted. Others decided to leave the company instead of waiting and enhance their career development in other organizations that contributed to a high attrition rate in Microsoft.

2. Discrimination.

Some of the employees in the organization felt that they were being discriminated hence affected their performance level. For example, Black American employees in Microsoft complained they were being treated unfairly compared to their white counterparts. The employees were being given low salaries compared to the white American employees who received high incentives and bonuses for their performances. This demoralized the Black American employees in carrying out their duties effectively or opting to seek employment in rival organizations. Black American employees in Microsoft also were given low performance rating making it difficult for them to be considered for higher office. This made them to be easily expelled from the organization and replaced with more competent workers. The organization had contractual employees who could easily replace Black American employees. This reduced motivation of Black American employees in carrying out their responsibilities as expected as the company only focused on increasing its profits and not their welfare (Mohlala, Goldman & Goosen 2012, 122). Employees who were also recruited on contractual basis complained on unfair treatment, for instance, inadequate training to carry out their responsibilities as expected. This made contractual employees not to finish their contracts due to frustration and disappointment…

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