Microsoft best company to work for in Britain

  • terminalterror 2 Mar 2003 19:12:23 18,931 posts
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    Sunday Times:

    MICROSOFT
    It is the best company to work for in Britain, but there is one negative to working at Microsoft, explains Maxine Edwards, who joined the world?s largest software supplier as a graduate trainee nearly two years ago. "No matter how satisfied the customer might be, there is still this 'evil empire' reputation."

    Microsoft and its founder, Bill Gates, the richest man on the planet, certainly have their enemies. But among the fans are 1,595 employees whose sense of wellbeing and belief have taken the firm from second place last year to top our poll for the best company to work for in Britain.

    When Edwards, who as 'readiness programme manager' prepares staff to launch new products, was called to a breakfast meeting in Burford, Oxfordshire, last December, her heart sank. But she and hard-worked colleagues from the 'campus' in Reading (where more than 90% of staff are based) were surprised with a 'thank you' stay at a luxury hotel. "We work long hours but it doesn?t feel like work most of the time: it is cool stuff and very upbeat," she says. "One of our directors sent an e-mail saying he doesn't want to see us after 6pm. I've never heard of anything like that before."

    Microsoft has got one programme spot on: the way it treats its workforce. In our survey, it is the only company in which staff feel more strongly about the business as a whole than their own teams or managers.

    The top score, 93% of staff, feel proud to work for the company and say it 'makes a positive difference to the world we live in'; 92% are excited about where it is going and would miss it if they left. About nine in 10 praise Microsoft's positive and faith-inspiring leadership, together with its high regard for customers, and 89% say they love working there.

    There is no human resources department, but a division called 'great company' to engage staff, and another linking 'people, profit and culture' run by Steve Harvey.
    Harvey joined the firm in 1990 (on the same day and wearing the same lurid tie as managing director Neil Holloway). He designed the campus where the numbers and sales exploded (growing steadily from £16.1 billion globally in 2001 to £17.62 billion in the last financial year) and is now working on the ultimate flexible- working technology: wireless links throughout the campus so that people can open their laptops anywhere, mobile phones linked to the e-mail system, and broadband at home for everyone.

    The business park in Reading is spectacular, with a lake where charity rowing teams train, a forest and picnic tables.

    Harvey is grateful for the Wellbeing clinic, offering everything from a mechanical massage chair to well-man clinics (including classes on how to detect testicular cancer). There is a 'bump' club to help pregnant mothers before their 18 weeks? fully paid leave, on-site nurses and doctor, and even a facility to donate bone marrow.

    The firm has opened a crèche with 50 places for £35 a day (£37 for the under-2s), has four cafes, a subsidised restaurant and Xbox games terminals for entertainment (if television stations including the own-brand UTV are not enough). Sports are given a boost with a £260,000 social budget, and the firm subsidises outings to shows or trips abroad.

    Mike Dixon, an account systems engineer, says: "We aren?t the Moonies, but it is like a family. I met my wife, Moira, at work and when we got married the canteen even offered to bake our cake!" Although staff say the firm is not the top payer in the industry, two-thirds earn more than £40,000 a year while 95% have joined a sharesave scheme with 15% off.
    There is free private healthcare (including 'life partners' and family), and a four-month sabbatical (unpaid) after four years. Flexible options to be introduced this year include dental cover, childcare vouchers for staff in London and Edinburgh and for those working from home, and the chance to buy days off.

    Microsoft is generous with its wealth: it gave almost 9.6% of UK pre-tax profits to charity last year and matches fundraising by up to £7,500 per person, per year ? which helped it win our special award for giving something back.
    Microsoft is quite literally, with the help of ventilation changing the atmosphere eight times an hour, a breath of fresh air.





    hmmmm, I like the comment about the whole 'evil empire' although if you listened to BGiE that would be Nintendo ;)

    Edited by terminalterror at 19:15:14 02-03-2003
  • AnotherMartin 2 Mar 2003 19:23:20 6,229 posts
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    Don't mean a great deal the company I work for was in the top 50. Buggered if any of us can work out why. Though supposidly they sent out questionaires to the companies in question, certainly know I didn't recieve one.
  • sam_spade 2 Mar 2003 21:53:57 15,745 posts
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    I bet it doesn't go into the corporate backstabbing that goes on in the company, that I've heard so many people who've worked there complain about.
  • Bill-Gates-is-Evil 3 Mar 2003 02:50:47 8,934 posts
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    Nintendo is 110% evil.
  • Blerk Moderator 3 Mar 2003 09:00:34 48,222 posts
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    I used to work at ICL in Reading. We moved into a building next door to Microsoft's new UK headquarters. It was great! Every time something blue-screened we could just open the window and scream abuse at them across the car park! Sometimes they'd even stop and look at you. :-)
  • binky Moderator 3 Mar 2003 09:27:08 11,079 posts
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    we were ninth \o/

    hehe. i think its because we have a 2 player sega rally2 downstairs :)
  • Scientist 3 Mar 2003 12:54:45 1,197 posts
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    otto wrote:
    I could never work for The Man (no I'm not talking about Bill Gates, I'm talking about any private sector company), it just wouldn't feel right putting all my working hours into making a bunch of shareholders richer. Nope, public sector for me.

    That said, I'm pretty jealous of you lot in the private sector - most of the time. On the one hand, OK, I have job security; on the other hand, we have absolutely nothing in the way of perks/treats/morale boosters or whatever you want to call them. The few times I have worked for private companies, I've always been impressed at the way they pay attention to the details to foster a corporate sense of community, from the little things like subsidised canteens and free biscuits, through to public transport loans/subsidies, up to outrageously extravagant office parties and Christmas bonuses. Any parties here are strictly out of hours and paid for by the participants, otherwise Mr Taxpayer represented by those kind intermediaries in Fleet Street is all over us like a nasty rash.

    But when you're ambassador surely your expenses budget will allow you to buy every Ferrero Rocher in the world!
  • otto Moderator 28 May 2007 11:16:19 49,322 posts
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    I could never work for The Man (no I'm not talking about Bill Gates, I'm talking about any private sector company), it just wouldn't feel right putting all my working hours into making a bunch of shareholders richer. Nope, public sector for me.

    That said, I'm pretty jealous of you lot in the private sector - most of the time. On the one hand, OK, I have job security; on the other hand, we have absolutely nothing in the way of perks/treats/morale boosters or whatever you want to call them. The few times I have worked for private companies, I've always been impressed at the way they pay attention to the details to foster a corporate sense of community, from the little things like subsidised canteens and free biscuits, through to public transport loans/subsidies, up to outrageously extravagant office parties and Christmas bonuses. Any parties here are strictly out of hours and paid for by the participants, otherwise Mr Taxpayer represented by those kind intermediaries in Fleet Street is all over us like a nasty rash.
  • otto Moderator 28 May 2007 11:16:19 49,322 posts
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    Heh, don't count on it! You should see our expenses budget, it's pathetic! More often than not we can't even stretch to coffee for guests, and even when we can, there are certain rules to be followed (guests must outnumber home team by at least two; requests for coffee must be countersigned by two hierarchical superiors and placed a week in advance...) - usually we just say 'bugger it' and get the coffees in ourselves.

    And they said that the financial reforms would reduce bureaucracy... o_O
  • Deleted user 25 November 2010 10:50:19
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