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A leaked survey means we now know how Microsoft employees feel about their jobs

The Visitor’s Center at Microsoft Headquarters campus is pictured July 17, 2014 in Redmond, Washington.
The Visitor’s Center at Microsoft Headquarters campus is pictured July 17, 2014 in Redmond, Washington. (Image credit: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images for Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft has an annual survey to gauge employees' feelings on various topics.
  • The company's employees reacted most positively to the survey's "Inclusion Index" category.
  • Almost 132,000 employees responded to the survey.

A Microsoft employee survey, internally dubbed the "MS Poll," was leaked and viewed by Insider. According to Insider, the findings from the survey and associated documents include that almost 132,000 of the 149,000 employees qualified to give feedback participated and that in at least one category, Microsoft achieved a 90% favorable response rate.

That category would be the "Inclusion Index." In one document Insider reviewed, that index is defined as "authenticity, belonging, belief in the commitment to diversity." So if Microsoft is pulling 90% favorability there, it's an indicator the company is doing something right in its inclusivity efforts.

One curious omission in this year's survey was a category containing pay-specific questions. Though we can't know how satisfied or dissatisfied Microsoft employees were with pay in 2021, previous MS Poll results show that in 2017, 65% of employees thought their overall compensation was competitive with jobs at other companies. That number fell to 61% in 2018, then 57% in 2019, then 55% in 2020, indicating why the 2021 MS Poll might not have asked about this topic.

There is one category on the MS Poll that is not like the others, in that only high-level employees with the title of "principal" or above are provided it. This category is the "Leadership Excellence Index." 77% of employees gave positive responses to this category's questions, though Insider was unable to determine what specifically is covered in them.

The MS Poll leak does not give much in the way of useful granular breakdowns, but it allows for some broad perspective on the mood of employees. Seeing the downward trend in compensation approval and the high 2021 marks in inclusivity, for example, gives an idea of where Microsoft is doing its workers right and where it may be failing them. Time will tell if the MS Poll leaks again in 2022 to keep informing outsiders of Microsoft's efforts to hear its employees.

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to robert.carnevale@futurenet.com.

3 Comments
  • While the decline in satisfaction with financial compensation is not a good look, it's hard to know exactly what numbers like this really mean when taken in isolation. It would be interesting to know what employees at other companies felt on the same subject. If those numbers are going up or even staying the same then that's not great for Microsoft but, even then, it doesn't necessarily mean that Microsoft isn't paying their employees competitively but just that those employees perceive that they're not. I'm not trying to defend Microsoft here but just pointing out that statistics don't always mean what we intuit them to mean. Regardless, it would behove Microsoft to improve that perception, whether that actually involves making salaries more competitive or demonstrating that they already are.
  • Idk why this is news. It's nothing new. Every big company I've worked for uses some sort of survey to gauge employee outlook, and how to improve. Gartner I think it's the name, does 1000s of companies and will even give generic stats for how you rank against other companies.
  • Its "news" because it is perceived as Good News for MS. If the numbers were in the toilet, you would not see it here. This story would be on MSPU, which is also a toilet.