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New World Of Work Microsoft Netherlands Case Study


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Casestudy: how Microsoft Netherlands embraced its own technology in order to transform their workplace, their appeal to new employees as well as increase employee retention rate and boost sales

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New World Of Work Microsoft Netherlands Case Study

  1. 1. Microsoft Customer Solution Case Study Software Company Boosts Sales and Employee Satisfaction Overview "It is better to show the actual environment and see Country or Region: The Netherlands Industry: High Technology—Software people working with the new products and services than it is to show a video, demonstrate a piece of Customer Profile Microsoft Netherlands has 700 software, or tell an abstract story." employees, most of who now work in the Theo Rinsema, General Manager, Microsoft Netherlands regional headquarters office near Amsterdam's airport or at client sites. The Dutch sales and service office of the software company Business Situation adopted a new approach to collaboration and greater employee The Dutch subsidiary needed to promote mobility, one that demonstrates the value of the products it its technology vision to customers, find more efficient office space, improve its sells. The changed culture at Microsoft Netherlands combined appeal to new employees, increase with the Unified Communications technologies offered by employee retention rates, and boost sales. Microsoft enable varied employee workstyles and demonstrate ® the anytime, anywhere approach to business in a global Solution Microsoft Netherlands implemented a economy. Increased employee satisfaction and improved sales New Way of Working that uses Unified results prove the value of the new culture, workplace, Communications and other technologies to promote deeper collaboration, environment, and tools. enhance employee mobility, and enable more efficient workstyles. Benefits  Reduced real estate costs 30%  Named country's best employer  Improved employee satisfaction  Increased specific product sales 50%  Reduced IT, administration, and communications costs
  2. 2. Summary that strives to promote a vision of Faced with growing competitive pressure productivity that depends on the ability to and a diverse workforce with varied work anywhere, anyplace, or anytime rather workstyles, Microsoft Netherlands designed than shackle people to desks. “Every day, and implemented a New Way of Working people entered the office, occupied the to fit its new social and business realities. same desks, worked on their notebooks, The Dutch subsidiary adopted the latest went to meetings, returned to their desks, Microsoft technology and changed its packed their notebooks, and went home,” physical infrastructure, operating practices, recalls Theo Rinsema, general manager at and behaviors, which resulted in improved Microsoft Netherlands. “I didn‟t see our productivity and higher employee philosophy „anyplace, anytime‟ adopted satisfaction. The transformation leveraged here. And they had to sell our vision? First, the three interrelated elements of “People, we needed to live our vision.” Place, and Technology,” which together dictate the way an organization functions. Rinsema says the only way to demonstrate the New Way of Working vision was “to eat The transformation, though not without our own dog food.” The subsidiary had to challenges and setbacks, exceeded use its own principles and technology in Microsoft Netherlands‟ financial goals and the same way that its customers would to became a real-life demonstration of the fully understand their needs. At the same products and services it sells. The result of time, Microsoft Netherlands needed a more the three-year process is a new approach alluring office and workstyle environment to work called “2bPR” or “To Be People to support these efforts and to attract—and Ready,” which leverages the “People Ready” retain—a diverse talent base. motto of the Microsoft Business Software Solutions group and demonstrates the Immediately, it was clear that the main vision of Microsoft to its customers. obstacles to a New Way of Working initiative revolved around people, politics, and culture, which typically trump Situation technology in change-management Following a decade of success, Microsoft projects. Employees could achieve a New Netherlands faced the challenge of Way of Working only through a work meeting aggressive sales goals in a nearly culture that provides less command and saturated market. In this daunting control, and thereby promotes better environment, the Dutch subsidiary realized efficiency across a wide range of employee that improving sales over time hinged on a activities and workstyles. The New Way of number of complex and interrelated Working, Microsoft Netherlands officials factors, among them: realized, could only succeed through  Inspire customers to use the latest changes in employee—and managerial— versions of Microsoft technologies. attitudes and philosophy.  Become an outstanding facilitator of employee relationships.  Become a premier workforce for its Solution diverse employees. The Dutch subsidiary adopted a New Way of Working based on the Microsoft However, the organization‟s cramped office philosophy of a “New World of Work,” environment did not mesh with a workforce where performance is driven by mobility
  3. 3. "Not everyone on my and employee enablement. The New Way Equipped with such knowledge, Microsoft of Working builds on this plan by focusing Netherlands developed a master plan and team was enthusiastic on the many economic, technological, and “guided roadmap” to steer employees to a social factors that will continue to shape New Way of Working. The subsidiary about the idea of not the future workplace, such as the blending realized that “personal discovery”—which having a private office, of work and home life, globalization, and encourages employees to engage with an always-connected world. tools, space, and other people in ways that but I volunteered are comfortable and productive for them as The Dutch subsidiary‟s approach to a New individuals—gave them an ownership stake because I really believed Way of Working began with an internal in the initiative. in the concept." vision and goals in three areas—People, Place, and Technology. The aim was to Employees and their managers learned Toby Wilson, Finance Director, empower workers with more freedom while more about the initiative‟s concepts and Microsoft Netherlands still holding them accountable for results. each other after completing “homework The initiative included both short-term and assignments,”—short online tests that long-term goals, in addition to specific measure personality and lifestyle. The test metrics to measure progress and success. results were used to group people together at offsite meetings, where employees GM Theo Rinsema coordinated the entire shared their personal New Way of Working project. “Stakeholder virtual teams” were stories. These meetings helped employees assembled based on the passion of and managers discuss the exciting changes members and their skills to further the and voice their concerns. steps of the initiative, such as implement change-management workshops, roll out Place: Promote Mobility Unified Communications technology, and The Dutch subsidiary moved to a new train partners and internal personnel. headquarters office with an open design External partners were chosen based on that promotes mobility. Private offices and their flexibility and their willingness to buy isolating cubicles were removed. State-of- into this vision. the-art user-centric technology gives employees greater freedom of movement. The following are some of the key People, Each employee now can work anywhere in Place, and Technology tactics and findings the office by using a laptop, headset, from the project: webcam, and smartphone—connecting to the network either wirelessly or by People: Stress Personal Discovery plugging in at a desk. An ongoing focus on strong change management enabled the culture to be Technology: Connect Outside the Office changed in 6 to 12 months. The process Colleagues can contact each other when began by analyzing employee workstyles out of the office, too. The technology and patterns and then searching for areas seamlessly connects them via telephone or of improvement. For instance, workers were Internet while they are in transit or at client surveyed on how much time they spend offices. The “presence” technology shows sending and receiving e-mail messages and people‟s availability and the best way to attending meetings. Thirty percent of the contact them. It is like being able to “look workforce completed questionnaires about over the cube or walk down the hall” how they were expected to do tasks versus without actually doing so. how they actually did these tasks.
  4. 4. The process has been an ongoing one, with when executives adopted them first. For successes and setbacks. For example, the example, executives work at home on subsidiary tried to implement a new occasion, which created a culture of trust hospitality management (HM) system, and commitment to the objectives of the which called for employees to plan their initiative. Managers also began sitting own meetings with external visitors— among their coworkers at different places including reserving meeting rooms and each day, thereby disconnecting status organizing beverages, lunch, and parking symbols like a private office from the spaces. This self-service concept was company hierarchy. implemented with an internal tool that did not meet employees‟ expectations. As a result, some employees refused to use the Benefits customer relationship management (CRM) The New Way of Working initiative at tool and planned their meetings the old- Microsoft Netherlands has resulted in fashioned way—by walking to the improved sales, increased employee reception area and arranging meetings satisfaction, and higher visibility of the through the receptionists. But the organization as a whole. receptionists were not trained to work in the new and improved hospitality process, Despite the Dutch subsidiary‟s high market and the resulting misunderstandings led to saturation, sales increased dramatically— several conflicts among Microsoft improving in specific product areas by 51 Netherlands employees. percent or more. This impasse was resolved by taking one Some of those sales were the result of step backward. The subsidiary simplified onsite customer visits. Microsoft the self-service process by shelving the Netherlands has conducted more than 100 CRM tool and using technology that onsite tours, showing up to 1,000 workers were already familiar with— customers per month how the subsidiary Microsoft® Office InfoPath® 2007, the lives the New Way of Working. “It is better information gathering program that easily to show the actual environment and see creates XML-based data forms. With Office people working with the new products and InfoPath 2007, employees fill out the forms services than it is to show a video, on an intranet site and then send them to demonstrate a piece of software, or tell an the hospitality team, which handles the abstract story,” General Manager Theo request within 24 hours. Rinsema says. This experience showed that sometimes The new building, which opened in April you have to take small, incremental steps 2008, has no assigned desks and requires toward change. By beginning with the only 95 square feet (or almost 9 square familiar and easy-to-use Office InfoPath meters) per person, roughly half the 2007 form and an extended HM team, the amount of space typically allocated to subsidiary will be able to transition slowly white-collar employees in office buildings. to the new tool and eventually allocate This efficient use of space slashed real some HM team members to other duties. estate costs by 30 percent and saved the subsidiary $644,000 a year. On the other hand, the subsidiary found that new practices were adopted quickly
  5. 5. "There were significant Two studies attest to the improvements in Because the New Way of Working is an work quality and employee satisfaction ongoing process, new benefits are improvements in following the initiative. Microsoft constantly emerging. A study currently Netherlands was honored as the “best underway is expected to provide additional workplace satisfaction. employer” in The Netherlands, scoring 92 metrics that demonstrate the cross- These significant out of 100 in an employee survey that functional benefits of the New Way of measured credibility, camaraderie, and Working throughout the Dutch subsidiary. improvements can be other factors that make for a vital workplace. The subsidiary also topped all attributed to moving to other companies in the survey in terms of Lessons Learned the new office building “employee pride.” 1. Secure executive support with a business case. Because the New Way of Working is a in April 2008 that had A study of the Microsoft Netherlands transformational initiative, it needs to be initiative, conducted by the Rotterdam articulated in clear business terms that been designed School of Management, Erasmus University, include goals, needs (specific resources according to New World showed that employees‟ satisfaction such as budget and headcount), and regarding their workplace improved approximate timelines, in addition to of Work principles." significantly after moving to the new milestones and the approach to pilots and building. “There were significant scalability. Without a top-down leadership Eric van Heck, Professor of Business Administration, Erasmus University improvements in Workplace Satisfaction,” commitment, it is unlikely that you will gain noted principle study author Eric van Heck, any momentum for the transition to a New professor of Business Administration. Way of Working. “These significant improvements can be attributed to moving to the new office 2. Create an internal vision and goals. building in April 2008 that had been Define a vision that aligns with the broader designed according to New World of Work mission, vision, and strategy of the principles.” organization. The New Way of Working vision should state all of its values as they In addition, more employees adopted the impact People, Place, and Technology mobile workstyle promulgated by the New issues. Start by defining the top-level goals Way of Working initiative. The majority (70 for the initiative, and then extend the percent) of Microsoft employees had a definition to include both short-term and mobile workstyle before the initiative. That long-term goals. already-high number jumped to 77 percent of employees after it was put in place. 3. Assemble a virtual team of stakeholders who share the vision. Virtual team members The New Way of Working has provided should be selected based on their function payback in numerous other areas. Costs for or skills that are needed to implement the IT, communications, and administration initiative, along with their personal interest have been reduced. The initiative also in and passion for the journey. Once the complements the organization‟s desire to initiative nears the deadline, participation go “green.” It has reduced carbon can become a half-time job. The Dutch emissions by 50 percent to 80 percent subsidiary made the mistake of not through reductions in office space, providing team owners with dedicated time commuting, and employee travel. for the New Way of Working initiative. As a result, the associated tasks were simply added to their existing workloads.
  6. 6. 4. Transform the physical environment. Such 6. Realize some ideas will fail. Microsoft a move can create an opportunity to Netherlands tried to spread enthusiasm by examine how space is used, what activities appointing “change agents,” but many of take place in that space, and how the these volunteers resigned because they felt physical environment contributes to goals left out of the decision-making process and like employee retention, productivity, and believed that their only role was “to spread innovation. the word.” In addition, time was wasted on clashes between enthusiastic people who 5. Embrace changes in work culture among worked from their own vision, rather than managers and employees. Early adopters the stakeholder virtual team‟s vision. should be selected to lead either departmental pilots or elements of the 7. Create excitement and momentum with initiative as they are rolled out to a larger communication and involvement. The initial part of the workforce. communication and involvement program will take approximately 6 months, and it For example, Microsoft Netherlands should complement the primary Finance Director Toby Wilson volunteered organizational transformation issues. to be an early adopter of “hot desking”— Communicate the New Way of Working the sharing of permanent work surfaces initiative with a solid mixture of already that are available to any worker as needed. existing digital and physical communication Wilson abandoned his office because of his instruments, such as weekly newsletters, enthusiasm for the concept. “Not everyone intranet project status sites, wikis, blogs, on my team was enthusiastic about the e-mail messages, and company meetings. idea, but I volunteered because I really believed in the concept,” Wilson says. 8. Leverage technology to enable change. The Dutch subsidiary used a practical
  7. 7. approach so that employees could develop both the mental and the technical readiness required for the New Way of Working initiative. For example, Microsoft Netherlands created a path to “smarter meetings” by developing guidelines and identifying key ways to organize and execute meetings more effectively through technology such as collaboration and e-mail suites (see the figure, “Scenario: Smarter Meetings,” on page 6). Extend the Success: Rabobank Nederland Financial services provider Rabobank Nederland is just one company that has successfully leveraged the Microsoft Business Software Solutions New World of Theo Rinsema, Work philosophy. The company‟s Rabo General Manager, Unplugged, an integrated style of working Microsoft Netherlands inspired by the philosophy, provides a flexible work environment that is supported by innovative technology. The program includes a new physical location with 250 flexible workplaces. Microsoft technology provides a flexible platform for employees to access the information and resources they require to work together safely and securely anytime, anywhere—whether they are at home, on the road, or in the office. The result: “Managers and employees are finding it easier to locate each other,” says Henny van Egmond, program manager for Rabo Unplugged. “There is more Additional Resources interaction between the different New World of Work white paper departments. I believe in the potential of Navigating in a Turbulent Economy these chance encounters. Rabo Unplugged Microsoft Netherlands New Way of puts people who would not normally work Working video together in contact with each other. This can lead to tremendous innovations.”
  8. 8. For More Information For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426- 9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568- 2495. Customers in the United States and Canada who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to: For more information about products and services, call or visit the Web site at: For more information about Microsoft Netherlands, call +31 (0)20-5001500 or visit the Web site at: Software & Services  Microsoft® Office Communications Server 2007  Microsoft® Exchange Server  Microsoft® Office Ultimate 2007  Microsoft® Office Live Groove®  Microsoft® Office Live Meeting  Microsoft® Office Outlook® Live  Microsoft Consulting Services  Microsoft IT  Microsoft Business Marketing Group  Microsoft Enterprise Product Group  Microsoft Human Resources, Finance, Communications, and Public Relations departments This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. Document published September 2009