Microsoft looks to ‘deepen’ employee trust by removing NDAs, non-competes, and more.

Kareem Anderson

Employee Contract

Following its announcement of adopting pro-union principles as regular practice, Microsoft is now adding to the discourse, curbing the use of non-compete agreements, post settlement NDAs, public disclosure of salary ranges and commissioning a civil rights audit within the company.

On Wednesday June 8, 2022, Microsoft released a briefing that detailed several company reforms aimed at “further deepening our employee relationships and enhancing our workplace culture.”

Microsoft arrived at its four critical initiatives through its investments in its company listening systems which consist of ‘daily pulse’ and biannual employee signal surveys as well as HR system run through Yammer.

The company is looking to accelerate its employee relationship efforts by enacting the following:

Employee Mobility

  • We are announcing that we are removing noncompetition clauses from our U.S. employee agreements, and will not enforce existing noncompetition clauses in the U.S., with the exception of Microsoft’s most senior leadership (Partners and Executives), effective today. In practice, what this means is those U.S. employees will not be restricted by a noncompete clause in seeking employment with another company who may be considered a Microsoft competitor. 

Safe Space Concerns

  • Microsoft’s U.S. settlement and separation agreements no longer include confidentiality language that prohibits workers from disclosing alleged conduct that they perceive is illegal discrimination, harassment, retaliation, sexual assault, or a wage and hour violation occurring in the workplace.

Increasing Pay Transparency

  • Today we’re announcing another best practice with our commitment to publicly disclose salary ranges in all of our internal and external job postings across the U.S., beginning no later than January 2023.

Civil Rights Audits

  • Microsoft is committing to a civil rights audit of its workforce policies and practices. This audit, to be conducted by a third party, will be guided by U.S. civil rights law and Microsoft values with the purpose of identifying areas of opportunity for Microsoft to address. We commit to complete this audit in FY23 and to publish a summary report and follow-on actions.

While there may not be a direct correlation, today’s news follows several high-profile headlining incidents within Microsoft, dating back as recently as the 2019 leaked email of shared sexual harassment allegations from women at the company.

Scrutiny over the email sexual harassment email was followed shortly by a board investigation into former CEO Bill Gates for similar misconduct allegations. As recently as this week, Microsoft was hit with several claims of leadership misconduct involving former head of Windows Terry Myerson, creator the company’s Mixed Reality platform and headset Alex Kipman and a third executive.

Microsoft has a lot on its employee equity plate, but yesterday’s announced changes are baby steps towards a more inclusive company.