Human resource development (HRD) is an integral component of an organization’s operational strategy. The function can affect a company’s performance outcomes and can be the difference between long-term success and failure. A focus on Microsoft Corp underscores the significance of an efficient HRD function based on the ability to analyze, plan predict, develop and implement human resource strategies that are in line with the business objective of the organization. Such a function is coordinated with strategic goals to ensure coherency of operations. In that regard, human resource development acts as the company’s strategic partner in realizing the human capital and financial objectives. With a focus on Microsoft Corp, the discussion offers an overview of the company’s leadership style in relation to HRD, organizational renewal, innovation its significance to humanity, the organizational culture, impact of the economic downturn, public views about the firm’s HRD practices, and corporate social responsibility.
Brief History/Overview of Microsoft Corp’s Leadership Style
Microsoft Corp’s top leadership plays a critical role in finding, developing and retaining the right talents as part of its workforce. The leadership particularly that of Bill Gates ensured the success of the companied is based on effective HRD practices besides good manufacturing techniques and technological advancement. The founder is the driving force behind Microsoft Corp and from firm’s initial stages, the leadership believed in the choice of extremely intelligent individuals. The preference is on hiring talented and highly skilled staff rather than basing the process on experience. The idea behind the leadership strategy is that smart talents are aggressive and come up with exceptional ideas. Because of the executives authentic and transformation approaches to leadership, the company grew to be among the wealthiest firms in the world with successful HRD practices. The leadership believes in maintaining a motivated workforce based on an organization culture that fosters continuous growth, empathy, individual empowerment and positivity. This makes Microsoft Corp an employee-driven company, which makes it a good case study for human resource development.
Organizational Renewal/Challenges of Change
The leadership change and organizational structured occasioned a renewal of Microsoft Corp’s HRD practices. This has been possible through human resource transformation, which entails creating a broader impact for the people at the company more than in previous approaches (Jeong & Shin, 2019). The renewal ensures support for employees to complete tasks efficiently and seamlessly. Indeed, although Microsoft Corp has been largely successful, it experienced struggles in moving to the next stage. The challenge resulted from internal stagnation and competition between business unities in the firm. Consequently, the major units considers each as competitors rather than partners serving the same purpose. The result was a toxic environment that stifled innovation, as the business relied heavily on refreshing cycles of windows operating system and Office applications.
Following the appointment of the new CEO, the company underwent restructuring with a focus on eliminating the destructive internal rivalry. The new approach focused empoloyees’ efforts on a common goal. To achieve this, the company reinvented business processes and productivity, developed the intelligent cloud platforms, and developed more personal computing. In line with the principles of HRD, the renewal was facilitated by the creation of a new sense of mission among employees as strategic partners of the organization. This was different from the previous experience where the people lacked a sense of purpose leading to low engagement and morale levels. Thanks to the renewal, employees feel their work contributes meaningfully to the organizational mission.
Competition Innovation Past & Present significance of such innovation to Humanity
Microsoft Corp has historically came up with innovation with far reaching positive implications for humanity. For example, employees in the company came up with the premonition project that uses technology to turn mosquitoes into tools for sampling pathogens in the surrounding. The contribution to humanity is phenomenal as researchers can collect and analyze the insects computationally to determine the presence of disease causing microorganisms. This helps in disease surveillance and prevention of outbreaks such malaria and zika. The company also developed the touchless procedure for medical imaging. This is possible using cameras to recognize and view medical images. The development also facilitates control and manipulation of images without touching non-sterile services. This is crucial for humanity as it prevents contamination and infection of patients besides eliminating operational inefficiencies that might cause medical complications. Other innovation with positive implications for humanity include HIV vaccine design and the hands-free keyboard for individuals who cannot speak or use the conventional one.
Microsoft Corp Organizational Culture in Relation to HRD
Microsoft Corp’s organizational culture is based on five principles that ensure the resilience of its workforce and capability to respond to business needs in line with the dynamic nature of the hardware and software market. To facilitate human resource competence in line with the principles of HRD, Microsoft Corp embraces “accountability, quality and innovation, responsiveness to customers, growth mindset as well as diversity and inclusion” (microsoft.com) as the bases of its organizational culture. Based on accountability, Microsoft Corp promotes understanding among employees of the consequences of their actions in the organizational context. Accountability is at the core of the firm’s reward and recognition initiatives, as customer feedback inform performance measurement. Institutionalization of accountability inculcates employee motivation who adhere the business procedures and goals concerning hardware and software development.
Quality and innovation in the organizational culture support maintenance of Microsoft Corp’s competitiveness. This is possible through extensive research and development operations to ensure continuous improvement. The culture of quality and innovation also sees employees rewarded for their contributions to customer satisfaction. Microsoft Corp incorporates responsiveness to customers as part of the organizational culture to ensure satisfaction of consumers of company products. To achieve this, the HRD function implements employee training to promote the consideration of customers and partners’ feedback in their duties. Product support initiatives and social media are crucial platforms for listening to feedback. Bottom line, responsiveness to customers ensures alignment of the HRD strategy to the organizational mission that is based on empowerment of customers.
As part of the organizational culture, Microsoft Corp employees embrace the growth mindset as a crucial component of daily operations. To inculcate the culture, the HRD function trains its people to come up with new business ideas. The reward system is aligned to support the growth mindset, which ensure Microsoft Corp maintains growth and resilience despite intense market competition. Finally, diversity and inclusion are part of Microsoft Corp organizational culture. The HRD function applies this through appropriate training of employees. The recruitment and selection practices are tailored to support diversity and inclusion. Besides enhancing business development, the culture helps in maximizing the competence of the company’s human capital based on teamwork and diverse ideas.
Impact of the Economic Downturn on Microsoft Corp
Although Microsoft Corp may experience the broader implications of coronavirus, the focus on cloud application and Azure could help the company in cushioning it legacy business operations. In that regard, the impact of the economic downturn can be understand from various perspectives. Firstly, although Microsoft Corp could be a better position compared to other business during this time, it may feel the impact of reduced spending in information technology (Krazit, 2020). In that respect, while Microsoft Corp ticks in terms of demands for cloud solution, its legacy strategy based on PC and software sales could affect profitability. Secondly, the company’s diverse range of operations could be affectively and negatively by the COVID-occasioned downturn. The business could benefit from increased aggregation of demand and being the focus for organizations and individual intending to use cloud application and virtual networking. Thirdly, in the medium term, the company would benefit as leading enterprise clients focus on fast tracking the adoption of cloud-based solutions, which can be used in the present situation and future operations. Noteworthy, Microsoft Corp’s business engagement with clients is based mainly on annual contracts, most of which have been executed. Therefore, management of the downturn in the short-term could still imply continued sustenance of business operations. The HRD function may be affected as the disease may affect employees directly or indirectly. The sales of hardware could also be affected negatively as organizations and individuals cut on non-essential IT expenditure.
Public Views About Microsoft Corp’s Human Resource Development
The public views Microsoft’s HRD practices as favorable, which positions the company among the ideal places to work. This is evident by the firm’s awards on aspects of flexibility, innovativeness, diversity and working arrangements. In demonstration of effective and favorable human resource practices, Microsoft maintained its positioner as a leader in revenue globally despite having a lean workforce. This makes it the biggest and ideal workplace.
The public views Microsoft HRD favorably as employees can access company resources with ease. The resources include periodicals, source code databases, research libraries, and intranet. Talented employees are exposed to challenging assignment to accomplish using cutting-edge technologies at their disposal. The company is considered a major innovation hub as it welcomes new ideas and gives employees the necessary tools and resources to develop their ideas. Employees are not reprimanded for project failure leading to high levels of engagement and development of hardware and software sold across the globe. This rakes millions of dollars for the company in form of sales. The working environments are exceptional technological hubs with excellent social amenities that foster innovation. Employee retention is at the core of HR strategies as the people receive packages and benefits tied to performance objectives. Overall, public perceives Microsoft positively as an organization that is employee-driven.
Corporate Social Responsibility
In relation to HRD, Microsoft Corp’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) focuses on empowering employees by “bringing out the best in people, supporting their goals, and allowing them to find deep meaning in their work” (microsoft.com). Base on the CSR promise to its people, the HRD function seeks “to create a respectful, rewarding, diverse, and inclusive work environment that enables our employees to create products and services that help others achieve more” (microsoft.com). These principles are evident in organizational culture, training and development, respect for human rights, diversity and inclusion, total rewards, and wellness and safety.
The organizational culture promotes learning and trying of new things for the collective good. The culture also inculcates teamwork as the core aspect of working in the company with individual having opportunities to change, learn and grow. The CSR promise to employees also support training and development based on the growth mindset. Training can take many forms such as personalized learning based on work scenarios, classroom teaching, on-the-job learning, promotion opportunities, coaching, new employee induction and on-boarding, and customized manager training.
Microsoft Corp has in place a total rewards system that is dynamic, sustainable and strategically aligned with business goals. The system results in strategic performance and development initiatives for employees to get benefits of their engagement with the company. Employee wellness and safety are at the core of HRD’s strategic objectives. These ensure effective assessment of hazards and risks in the work environment, assessment of new workspaces to ensure compliance with safety requirements, and employee involvement in health and safety management. In line with the principles of diversity and inclusion, Microsoft Corp focuses on “driving global systemic change in our workplace and workforce, and creating an inclusive work environment” (microsoft.com). The principles ensure everyone at the organization has the opportunity to give their best and be their authentic selves.
The discussion revealed the importance of an efficient human resource development function as it acts as a strategic partner of a business and contributes to the organization’s overall strategy. The analysis focused on the key points of leadership style at Microsoft in relation to HRD, organizational renewal and challenges of change, the impact of innovation on humanity, organizational culture, impact of economic downturn caused by coronavirus, public views about the firm’s HR practices and it corporate social responsibility. Overall, organization should embrace efficient HRD practices to push move forward by underscoring the value of employees for the attainment of business goals.
Jeong, I., & Shin, S. J. (2019). High-performance work practices and organizational creativity during organizational change: A collective learning perspective. Journal of Management, 45(3), 909-925.
Krazit, T. (2020, April 29). Microsoft’s coronavirus challenges are different. Retrieved May 11, 2020, from https://www.protocol.com/microsoft-coronavirus-office-enterprise-contracts Microsoft.com. (n.d.). Empowering our employees – Microsoft CSR. Retrieved May 11, 2020, from https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/corporate-responsibility/empowering-employees