Microsoft provides various types of family and parenting benefits to help its employees balance their professional and personal life more effectively. Eight weeks of paid maternity leave is provided to its female employees. In addition, new mothers, fathers and adoptive parents may take up to four weeks of paid parental leave. Even they can apply for additional unpaid leave if required. The company also provides adoption assistance where it reimburses up to $5000 per child.
Besides, it provides free resource and referral service where employees can get valuable information regarding child care, elder care and parenting. However, providing health and family and parenting benefits might act as hygiene factors to sustain the productivity of the workforce and not act as motivational factors. Consequently, Lisa Brummel (Brummel), who was appointed as the Corporate Vice President for Human Resources in the year 2005, put forward the myMicrosoft program.
Through myMicrosoft program the company provided various work-life balance programs which actually acted as motivational factors to raise employee morale and increase their productivity. (“Work-Life Balance at Microsoft”, www. Microsoft. com) Recognizing that a majority of the employees are just fresh college graduates, the company tried to provide them a work environment as enlivened as a college campus. Microsoft allows it employees to decorate their own office/ workstation as per their wish.
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Nearly every Microsoft employee gets a private office. The office is quite flexible with sliding doors, movable walls, and urban loft-like spaces tailored to individual needs. Office space could be adjusted by all these depending upon one’s need for privacy. In addition, Brummel renovated the cafeteria. She introduced new Starbucks i-cup coffee machines and won enormous admiration from the employees. Besides, the company hired local restaurants to provide cafeteria food and desk-side lunch deliveries.
The myMicrosoft program also provided access to laundry, dry-cleaning, grocery delivery and convenience stores within the office premises; so that the employees would not have to think about the household chores and concentrate better on their work. (“Microsoft brings back the towels” (2006, 22 May)) Further, the company made it a point to assist the employees regarding childcare and tuition benefits – reducing their stress even more. Along with this, there is a discount scheme on housekeeping, yard and pet care and auto repair.
Another innovative idea of Brummel that caught the fancy of the employees is InsideMS – an internal blog to get employee’s opinion and feedbacks about the company. (“Reshaping Microsoft's HR Agenda”, (2007, 10 September)), There is an intranet portal where people can suggest their own solutions to HR shortcomings. This gave a chance to the higher management to know how their employees are feeling towards certain issues. Also, employees feel better as their voices are heard. Microsoft believe that only cash is not enough today to retain the best talents and providing attractive benefit plan is important.
“Work-Life Balance at Microsoft”, http://www. microsoft. com/australia/careers/culture/worklife. mspx “Reshaping Microsoft's HR Agenda”, (2007, 10 September), http://www. businessweek. com/magazine/content/07_37/b4049070. htm Coetzee Jan, “Confront the Talent Crunch and Find the Employees Your Company Needs”, http://www. workinfo. com/Articles/manpowersa_talent. htm “Microsoft brings back the towels” (2006, 22 May), http://management. silicon. com/itpro/0,39024675,39159016,00. htm “Benefits at Microsoft”, http://members. microsoft. com/careers/mslife/benefits/plan. mspx
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