In Conversation With Rose Clements, VP HR Microsoft

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In Conversation With Rose Clements, VP HR Microsoft

  1. 1. In Conversation With Rose Clements Human Resources Director Microsoft Australia “Workplace Culture & Employee Flexibility” July, 2010Executive Briefing Series ‘In Conversation with…” Presented by Robertson Executive SearchContact: pgoddard@robertsonsearch.com L10/ 155 George Street, Sydney AUSTRALIA 2000
  2. 2. INTRODUCTION Employee flexibility and workplace culture are significant challenges for many organisations in attracting and retaining talent. In today’s cultural context and family friendly environment, organisations can lose talented candidates if they are unable to demonstrate these capabilities in their organisation. Microsoft HR Director, Rose Clements, recently spoke at Robertson Executive Search’s regular ‘In Conversation With’ lunch series in Sydney and shared how Microsoft manages to unpeel this ‘onion’ to deliver the “work is what you do; not where you go to” approach. Recent ABS statistics inform us that there is a rise in ‘singletons’ due to an increase in the divorce rate, people choosing not to enter ‘couple-dom’ and aging widowed baby boomers. Interestingly, one in three families in Australia is a single parent household inspite of the lag effect of the baby bonus which has seen an increase in the birth rate. At Robertson Executive Search we are often called upon to be coaches and mentors to candidates and clients. We deal with a variety of career scenarios; for example an executive moving locations to undertake a new role and the resulting issues of family, culture, parity, perceived increase or loss of long term opportunity in their home base; or a candidate considering an industry change and what that may mean from a career perspective. One of the primary questions we are asked by candidates is about organisational culture – what is it like; is there workplace flexibility; does theExecutive Briefing Series ‘In Conversation with…” Presented by Robertson Executive SearchContact: pgoddard@robertsonsearch.com L10/ 155 George Street, Sydney AUSTRALIA 2000
  3. 3. organisation provide the tools for workplace flexibility; what is the cultural model etc. Culture quite simply can be ‘the way things are done around here.’ We ask our Client organisations to fully brief us prior to any search especially on culture as it is such an important area for candidates and for Clients themselves. CASE STUDY: Microsoft Microsoft see’s culture as a business issue and take a systematic approach to create a culture “to purpose” which recognises that everyone does things differently. Behaviours Leadership Culture Symbols Systems There is a strong ethos of “working to the job not to the clock.” Rose commented that the hypothesis Microsoft operates on is that people receive information with interest when it is presented through behavioural symbols. For example, there are no designated car parking spots for anyone, or a probationary period. This signals that everyone has a critical role to play and being at Microsoft means you’ve got an “A+” and they trust you will work hard to keep to that standard.Executive Briefing Series ‘In Conversation with…” Presented by Robertson Executive SearchContact: pgoddard@robertsonsearch.com L10/ 155 George Street, Sydney AUSTRALIA 2000
  4. 4. Even business as usual items are assessed from a perspective of “what kind of message are we emitting” as behaviour is the biggest indicator of culture. Leadership is at the centre of this system as it impact 70% on the climate within an organisation and climate in turn impacts on 30% of business outcomes. Culture, according the work done by Microsoft and Gallup, drives business outcomes. Environment Organization System Whe Strategy Leadership 70 Climate 30 % Culture People Business Results Microsoft also believe that “every single employee is entitled to an outstanding manager” as managers hold the key to the employee experience. They operate on a model of a series of promises where the role of the manager is to manage their business outcomes The model, illustrated above, encapsulates the MS Employee value Proposition (EVP). The EVP was based on a series of employee interviews where staff were asked ‘what kind of Microsoft do you want?’ This led to wide rangingExecutive Briefing Series ‘In Conversation with…” Presented by Robertson Executive SearchContact: pgoddard@robertsonsearch.com L10/ 155 George Street, Sydney AUSTRALIA 2000
  5. 5. responses and the categories above were created. What was clear however was that the manager of an employee held the key too the employee’s experience. Therefore, development of people manager’s is a high priority at Microsoft. Managers and their teams are held accountable to ‘what and how.’ Mechanism and time have no relevance in this scenario. They view is very much about working to the job not the clock. Microsoft’s approach is quite different when contrasted with other MNC’s. The focus is on a mental model underpinned by a behavioural model. The mental model is about the ‘operating system’ and the behaviours are all about the ‘soft skills.’ There is a continual effort made to not blame or deny, but rather ask ‘what is it about my circumstances that I can control?’ This goes hand in hand with suspending judgement of individuals to a form of constructive thinking and shifting the way people think. This has resulted in some excellent outcomes for Microsoft as follows: - YoY Revenue & Profit growth - Unmanaged attrition rate of <2% - Average employee tenure: circa 5 years - 70% vacancies filled internally - 40% Senior Executive team are women - 2009 Hewitt’s “Best of the Best” Employer award - EOWA Employer of Choice two years running - Numerous Diversity and Industry awards - High Employee Engagement: - 94% proud to work for MS - 92% feel their managers treat them with respect and dignityExecutive Briefing Series ‘In Conversation with…” Presented by Robertson Executive SearchContact: pgoddard@robertsonsearch.com L10/ 155 George Street, Sydney AUSTRALIA 2000
  6. 6. - 91% like the kind of work they do - 91% would recommend MS as a great place to work. This example was contrasted across Telecommunications and Financial Services especially as to what flexibility meant. In Financial services especially insurance, there has been a paradigm shift in terms of what it means to be flexible as most of their employees are in their mid 30’s. The GFC was a call to change which meant wholesale review and steps are being taken to get closer to the customer. Whereas, the telecommunications experience is seen to be quite different. Flexibility is a burning platform here, but for different reason. Here, 50% of the workforce is older than 50. The objective is to retain impending retirees longer as engineering and other relevant IT skills are a scarce resource. This led the discussion to the MS “Employee Value Proposition (EVP)”. A key insight was that performance management did not have a fixed bell curve. This means that employees indicated that they wanted dynamic KPI’s, did not want to compete with one another and sought rewarding opportunities. This led HR to take a bold step - everyone at Microsoft know each others compensation ratios, performance ratio and succession plan. This also meant that career development became vital and the process transparent. Ultimately, there was consensus that flexibility comes from trust. Many organisations do not deploy flexible arrangements, inspite of the fact that technology can enable it quite easily.Executive Briefing Series ‘In Conversation with…” Presented by Robertson Executive SearchContact: pgoddard@robertsonsearch.com L10/ 155 George Street, Sydney AUSTRALIA 2000
  7. 7. Synopsis Workplace culture and flexible working conditions are clearly an important topic in the modern day war for talent, in regards to attracting and retaining the best people. It was clear from the Microsoft example and from the audience that each workplace and industry has their own challenges and nuances. To do nothing you risk the possibility of losing your best people to companies that do value flexible workplace behaviour and further to be branded a company that is not open to change, either directly or indirectly through social media channels. Looking into the future the best and brightest from the generations to come will make work choices based on flexibility and not earnings potential.Executive Briefing Series ‘In Conversation with…” Presented by Robertson Executive SearchContact: pgoddard@robertsonsearch.com L10/ 155 George Street, Sydney AUSTRALIA 2000
  8. 8. Attendees: Anthea Grace AICD Senior Policy Advisor Fiona Wardlaw AMP GM Human Resources Andrew Boyd CSR Executive General Manager, HR Rose Clements Microsoft HRD Stephen Hale Ogilvy Earth Managing Director Cassandra Kelly Pottinger CEO Tracey Gavegan Telstra HRD OperationsExecutive Briefing Series ‘In Conversation with…” Presented by Robertson Executive SearchContact: pgoddard@robertsonsearch.com L10/ 155 George Street, Sydney AUSTRALIA 2000

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