Going from a quiet, carefree and familiar environment to university to work for a large corporate company can be extremely challenging. There were a thousand questions running through my head before I started my first day as an intern at Microsoft. what are the people like? Where do I eat my lunch? I also remember emailing my manager asking about the dress code!
The fact is, these are all valid questions, regardless of what level of experience you have. And these questions made me realize the importance of creating a positive culture at work where all employees can do their best work.
Here are some of the best practices Microsoft has discovered since its time on how to create a positive employee experience:
1. Create an inclusive culture where everyone can achieve their full potential
Being a Dutch / Indian citizen, born and raised in Amsterdam for 18 years and then moving to the UK in 2016 to do a BSc in International Business at Loughborough University, I experienced many cultures, people and environments is. As a result, I have come to realize early on at an early age that diversity and inclusion (D&I) are valued in our lives. I find it incredibly important that D&I has been hired everywhere, but especially. It should be promoted and supported throughout the business to create an environment where everyone can participate and achieve their potential.
Microsoft also carries out its D&I message through various employee resource groups (ERGs) such as Women, @ Microsoft, Global LGBTQ + Employees and Allies at Microsoft (GLEAM), LGBTQ + and Black Asian & Minestity Ethnics (BAME). As a trainee, I have had the opportunity to engage with these ERGs, which has helped drive the immense impact that they have. This shows me that Microsoft is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment for its employees.
2. Let your employees be yourself and focus on making an impact
I’m sure you must be wondering what the dress code is like here – this is definitely something I thought about! I knew that doing an internship for a year would mean that I would need to invest in some work clothes, because at university I lived in leggings, overseas hoodies and trainers.
As my first day was getting closer, the question was going in my mind that what work clothes would I have to buy? Should I invest in a suit? high heel shoe? I knew that specific work clothes for women were skirts, blouses and heels. I was just about to shop when I thought I’d emailed my manager that I was on the right track. When I read it, I was very happy that I reached out to my manager with this question. I was surprised by his reaction, but very relieved. It gave me the feeling that I could be myself and be comfortable while working.
The purple rectangle overlayed with the following text: “Come as you are. Do what you like.”
Within the first week of my role, I came across Microsoft’s mantra, “Do as you are, do what you love,” and that’s when it all clicked for me. I felt like I was in an environment where I could be myself. My experience has been that Microsoft cares about my development, the work I do, and the positive impact on the world.
Also, as you start working, you will get a feel for what the people around you wear from day to day. My suggestion is that you wear something that makes you feel confident and comfortable. If I had to describe the dress code at Microsoft, I would say that it is smart casual. I go from wearing heels and skirts one day, to trainers and jeans the next!
3. Empower your employees to do what they do best – no matter their background
Before joining Microsoft, one concern I was getting was 20 years old with no corporate company work experience. I was afraid that I would not have a voice nor talk to me nor would the more senior staff be treated like that. Being eight months into my role, I can say with confidence that this is not the case.
Everyone is highly sociable and talks to you the same way they talk to someone else in the business. The truth is that people who are in early careers can have just as much influence as senior employees. You can find that senior employees can learn from people who are also early in their career and hiring early in career talent is a great way to challenge the status quo for your business and identify new ways of working. May be the method.