What makes a company great to work for?

Do you work for a great company? Does your company do what Microsoft does to be great?

After Microsoft employees voiced their desire to contribute more to their communities, the software company gifted its workers with 40 paid hours a year to dedicate to volunteer activities — ranging from working in a soup kitchen once a week to spending a week building an orphanage. Bill Gates’ brainchild also supports employees who are new parents: In Norway, where maternity and paternity leaves are quite generous at the federal level, Microsoft hosts a “Junior Lunch” every quarter, allowing new parents on leave to come to the office for a lunch with their children, keeping the working parents in touch with their colleagues and up-to-date with office happenings.

“Microsoft is a place where you can be yourself,” says an employee. “It’s expected that you have an opinion, and there are multiple opportunities to really make a contribution to the company and to society. Unless you work here, it is hard to believe the passion that people display.”

Working for a great company is about ordinary people doing great things? What great things can you do at your company to make it great?

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2 thoughts on “What makes a company great to work for?

  1. A thought provoking post, Kenneth! I’ve worked with many companies who remain envious of Microsoft and other organisations who have a very people-focused culture, but seem to remain scared of trying similar tactics to engage and motivate their people. It’s almost as if they fear that if they allowed (shock horror) time off for voluntary work or to complete personal projects, staff would run amok and the organisation would haemorrhage money left right and centre.

    To my mind, a central element to implementing initiatives of this sort is trust….of the people by the establishment. If this is in place, huge things can be accomplished, as evidenced by a handful of the most successful companies in the world.

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