Leaked: Microsoft managers told to minimize budget impact on employee rewards

Devesh Beri

Microsoft employees were anticipating disappointing pay raises as the company’s CEO, Satya Nadella, had sent a company-wide email earlier in the year warning of salary freezes and reductions in the bonus budget. Despite previous transparency about the cost-cutting measures, employees who inquired about the impact of budget cuts on their performance reviews were redirected. 

1. Dodging Employee Inquiries:

  • Leaked guidance reveals managers instructed to avoid discussing budget cuts’ impact on performance reviews.
  • Managers are directed to focus on individual impact on the company and tie it to rewards instead.

2. Shift in Company Culture:

  • Managers were instructed to avoid answering such questions to preserve the company’s culture.

3. Lack of Official Response:

  • Microsoft remains silent regarding inquiries about the leaked guidance and employee concerns.

4. Connection to Budget Cuts:

  • Employees received a subpar pay review due to budget cuts. Nadella’s previous email announced wage freezes in response to economic conditions.

5. Changes to Compensation Timing:

  • Microsoft employees typically receive information about compensation based on performance in August, which becomes effective in September. This year, salaries are projected to remain stagnant, and bonuses are expected to be significantly smaller.

6. Decision Rationale:

  • Nadella explains why bonus and stock award budgets were reduced due to economic conditions. The leadership team believes this is necessary for long-term company success.

7. Adjusted Reward Distribution:

  • Managers are instructed to give fewer “exceptional rewards” due to budget constraints. More employees will receive middle-range rewards.

8. Employee Response and Advice:

  • Employees frustrated with lack of salary raises.
  • Chief Marketing Officer Christopher Capossela recommended that employees boost their pay by raising the company’s stock value despite him cashing out significant stock.

Microsoft’s handling of budget cuts and communication shifts impact employee compensation and company morale. They have laid off more than 10K employees this year already. 

Overall, this situation illustrates how companies like Microsoft navigate the complexities of budget constraints, employee compensation, and maintaining a positive workplace environment during economic uncertainty. It showcases the multifaceted considerations organizations make when making decisions affecting their employees and long-term goals.

via Fortune