When People Are The Priority, Everything Else Falls Into Place

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I believe the keys to a CHRO’s success are constant learning, working with your leadership team to elevate your employees to the top of your business strategy, and being intentional in making your people agenda a strategic business priority.

With that in mind, I’d like to share Microsoft’s People Priorities with you.

1- The talent that can change the world

This priority is about ensuring we have the right skills and capabilities, in the right places, at the right times. Our aim is to recruit, develop, and retain world-changing and diverse talent. As a result, we’ve made advancements in the ways we locate, recruit, and onboard talent, and notably, we’ve modified our recruiting practices to be more inclusive by “Screening In.” Once onboard, we continue to develop and foster our workforce, curating stretch assignments and offering diverse learning opportunities for continual career growth. 

2- An evolving culture with a growth mindset

Our culture is grounded in a growth mindset, which starts with a belief that potential is nurtured, not predetermined. Growth happens by being curious, open to understanding our own biases and changing our behaviors to tap into the collective power of people throughout our organization. We don’t just value differences, we seek them out; we invite them in. Diversity fuels innovation. Mistakes fuel innovation. Lifelong learning fuels innovation. We’re constantly evolving our culture through our actions, and recently we announced an initiative to ensure that every employee has a stake in our culture by prioritizing inclusion and increasing accountability.

3- An exceptional place to work

We believe it’s our responsibility to create an environment where people can do their best work—a place where they can proudly be their authentic selves, and where they know their needs can be met. We’ve worked to align our benefits to our culture, as guided by this priority, evolving them to be more holistic and inclusive. Examples include expanding our parental leave policy followed by the introduction of a caregiver leave policy. Everyone who works on behalf of Microsoft is part of our overall community, so we’ve encouraged vendors and suppliers to join us on this journey. We’ve also focused on the role of managers, understanding that employees’ fulfillment at the company is directly tied to their relationship with their managers. We’re working to cultivate, train, and empower all our managers to effectively lead.

4- Transformational leadership

How do you define what a leader does? It can be hard to pinpoint specific words, so we’ve published Leadership Principles to help guide the way. We believe leaders should empower our employees, customers, and partners to achieve more by Creating Clarity, Generating Energy, and Delivering Success. No one stays in a role indefinitely, so there are two parts to effective leadership—leading today and developing the leaders of tomorrow. Today’s leaders are taught how to find moments to reinforce and teach our Leadership Principle practices and habits by example. And, through intentional leader development, we’re building our talent bench of the future so we’re ready for changes that could (and should) occur as people follow their own career journeys.

5- Empowering at scale

This priority is about unleashing people to come together and perform on a global scale. In HR, we believe our mission is integrally linked to Microsoft’s mission: To empower the people who empower the planet. One way we do this is by providing technology tools that afford our employees greater connectivity, collaboration, and communication across every team, enabling them to further our mission. A great example is how Microsoft Teams allows us to create conversations where everyone can be included and their voices can be heard—across the hall and around the globe. With a company of our size and complexity, we also work hard to ensure all 130,000 employees in 190 countries don’t just survive the matrix but thrive in the network. No matter how we structurally organize, it’s essential we create cross-org teams that have clear principles for working together.

Having these People Priorities has made our path clearer. When people are the focus of your organization—when employees feel included, represented, and heard—everything else naturally falls into place.

Article By @Kathleen Hogan, Chief People Officer & EVP, Human Resources, Microsoft.

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