Microsoft Case Study Essay

Words: 2234
Pages: 9


CASE STUDY 5/09/07

Microsoft: Competing on Talent
Microsoft has had a long standing practice of aggressively pursuing and hiring the brightest engineers in the software field. Yet by 1999 Microsoft had matured and many of its talent employees were leaving the company as documented in a Wall Street Journal article “As Microsoft Matures, Some Top Talent Chooses to Go Off Line”. The article reported that many employees were tired of grueling deadlines, frustrated by the bureaucracy, and lured away by high-tech start-ups. Newly appointed president and COO recognized that Microsoft had to change or adapt some of the human resource practices
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I believe this is an effective mechanism for controlling spending, but contributes to the hectic work pace and long hours experienced within Microsoft. This must be managed closely since being too stringent on resources could cause burnout on existing employees, particularly if this continues for an extended period of time. The “as appropriate” interviewer is a good policy within the company to ensure groups are hiring good Microsoft people and a system of checks and balances where the hiring manager faces pressure to fill the position. This could cause animosity between the hiring manager and “as appropriate” interviewer if the manager is in dire need of a person to meet deadlines, yet the interviewer uses their veto power to prevent the hiring of this candidate. The “no hire” default position is an attempt to maintain a lofty hiring standard throughout the company. I find this and the other philosophies difficult to maintain during high headcount growth spurts. Exhibit 9 indicates that Microsoft doubled in size between 1995 and 1999, and Exhibit 8 shows the acceptance rates increased during this same period. Based on these numbers it appears that the company may have had to relax some of these strict hiring guidelines. Finally, I believe that in every successful group effort people will assume various roles within that team. Some may take more of a leadership role, where others will be more