One of the critical challenges that faced the company in the 80s was developing a career track for those who were individual contributors at best and those who were managers or had potential to be managers. This arose due to the fact the company being an IT company, technical people were mostly hired who may or may not be managers. The solution was to allow people to remain technical experts and get the same opportunity to advance in terms of compensation, promotion and recognition as those in the management track. Ladder levels for determining vertical movement were based on an individual's job nature, together with his experience, skill and performance. In addition, growth was also made possible with horizontal transfers from one job to another. New hires were also encouraged to learn from mentoring from those who were company seniors.
IT industry's explosive growth, thousands of ...
When the company reached its 20,000th employee mark, Bill Gates viewed this as an important challenge facing the company where the values at its inception responsible for its success were at stake. As a response, the HR group started measuring employee attitudes. A finding in the late 1990s was that even if attrition rates or voluntary resignations were half those of industry levels, at the higher positions, resignations were closer to industry rates. With "Organizational Health Index" (OHI), a part of the annual employee survey, the focus was turned on the work environment as a tool for retention and on a more fundamental level, "keeping the entrepreneurial spirit alive" that made Microsoft what it was. Ballmer's two priorities was to accomplish this was first to change Microsoft's vision from "a computer on every desk and in every home running on Microsoft software" to "to empower people to do anything they want, any place they want, and on any device". The second strategy was to empower leaders within the company to clear obstacles, make decisions quickly and clearly define goals.
Another challenge was how to identify managers and leaders who are capable of developing people. In order to meet this challenge, Microsoft embarked on a series of programs to identify potential leaders and it became the priority of Steve Ballmer, Microsoft president to develop leaders within the company. As a result of these programs, it was found out that the sources of leadership development were primarily from the jobs currently held at 70%, from mentoring at 20% and from training at 10%.
With its maturity as a large-scale organization, a top concern emerged in the 1990s to