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MICROSOFT - BUILDING A CULTURE OF INNOVATION IN THE WORKPLACE

Published: 2010

OVERVIEW

At Microsoft, we define innovation in the broadest terms possible. That means that we don't just focus on developing the most innovative software applications for an increasingly diverse range of devices - it means that we actually apply an innovative approach to everything that we do as an organisation.

This is particularly evident when it comes to HR at Microsoft.

Our objective at HR is to make sure that we develop a culture of innovation throughout the organisation. In order to achieve this objective we do many different things including;

  • Hiring for potential - Graduate Recruiting/Institute of Sport programmes
  • Employee engagement - 'myStory', 'I am' engagement campaigns
  • Diversity & Inclusion - diverse people, diverse ideas
  • Creating an Entrepreneurial Culture
It is a combination of these programmes, as well as the overall approach that senior management take to building trust and open communication with their teams that helps ensure our continued success with a happy and motivated workforce.

To help provide detail on how some of these programmes work in practice I am focusing on the area of 'Creating an Entrepreneurial Culture'.

CHALLENGE

The recent global economic challenges presented us with the opportunity to think about our business in new ways and to really drive value. We wanted to ensure that employees understood that their skills, their jobs and their contribution are directly linked to helping the company achieve a business result which would help drive the business forward and ensure future success.

We needed our environment to be one where everyone understands that their ideas are important; ideas which develop new products or processes which allow Microsoft to enter new markets and to acquire new customers. Previously our growth presented more obvious opportunities for employees to develop and learn. The new 'reality' meant that opportunity needed to be identified which was not so obviously and which might not be easy to commercialise.

We needed to identify the areas of priority where investment would be made while also de-prioritising other areas which were no longer central to our future strategy.

We needed to engage all employees in this challenge, not just for the success of the business but also to help them ensure their own success.

SOLUTION

In order to empower people to make business critical decisions and to help them understand the link between their own work and the impact on the company's overall strategy and success we needed to create an Entrepreneurial Culture.

We did this by:

  • Developing a communications programme which was open and transparent generating discussion at all levels within the organisation and focused all employees in identifying the opportunity for themselves, the business and our customers in the current economic uncertainty. This led to the generation of significant numbers of ideas which were then distilled into a number of key initiatives across the businesses relating to product innovation, developing new business opportunities and learning opportunities at the same time.
  • Creating a cadre of people managers (developing manager communities, collaboration sites, manager learning weeks, regular people manager meetings) with explicit organisational responsibilities for employee engagement on the above as well as developing their employee base behind the 'new reality' where the key to success for any employee was to keep relevant.
  • Providing employees with the control over when and how they work, using our latest technology to work any place, any time. Our high trust work culture enables employees to decide and be accountable for the quality of their work output

OUTCOME

  • High levels of employee engagement - No 1. Best Place to Work
  • Ability to manage change in a very effective manner. All employees see the value of change, the need to have changes to role and responsibilities with minimal down time and impact on productivity.
  • Ability to drive initiatives across groups and functions in an effective manner
  • Each individual understands their contribution to increasing revenue and market share

TOP TIPS

  • Engage your employees openly about business challenges and opportunities, involve them in the solution.
  • Be open and transparent in your communications, While you may not have all the answers, people prefer to be involved even if things are not clear.
  • Empower people to make decisions, share in the positive benefits and understand their role in the negatives.
  • Hire the best people you can find and develop great teams. They will deliver more value for your business.

Solution Overview

Organisation
Microsoft

Country/Region
Ireland


For More Information

About Microsoft in Ireland:
The Irish Sales, Services and Marketing Operation of Microsoft was established in 1991. The full-time team market all Microsoft products and services in the island of Ireland, targeting customers both North and South. The team services customers across all segments including enterprise, small and medium sized businesses and home computer users. In addition to developing desktop products, Microsoft provides tailored consultancy services and solutions to suit enterprise businesses. Microsoft is continuing to concentrate on its relationship with the Irish enterprise market - the top 100 companies in the island of Ireland. Enterprise customers of Microsoft include the Department of Education in Northern Ireland and the Civil Service Commission, Dublin.
For more information on Microsoft’s products and solutions, please visit www.microsoft.com/ireland

About Microsoft:
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

 

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