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Layoffs cool Microsoft employees' opinion of CEO Satya Nadella

Gregg Keizer | July 29, 2014
The percentage of Microsoft current and former employees who approve of CEO Satya Nadella has dropped since the company announced layoffs.

"The recent layoff was insane for a company that IS PROFITABLE," wrote a self-identified senior program manager on Thursday. "Becoming even more profitable by dismissing people does not look good."

"Where are you going to invest, in the people that do the work for you or shipping features and services?" asked another senior program manager on July 22.

"Don't lay off any more [people]. We join[ed] Microsoft because we have trust in this company. The day you announced the news, I was immediately thinking about quitting," confided a still-employed senior software development engineer on July 18, a day after the layoffs and the day when Glassdoor recorded more new reviews than any other day in the July 9-July 24 period.

But the layoffs did not seem to leave a bad taste among those who said they were no longer with Microsoft. In comments added to Glassdoor after the job cuts, 73.7% of those identified as former employees said they would recommend the company to a friend, while only 15.8% said they would not.

Naturally, not every former employee was happy. "Too much politics. The people you work with will be smart; but good luck finding good people," wrote an ex-program manager after the layoffs. "I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company."

Nadella has promised to shake up the company's culture — "Nothing is off the table," he wrote in a 3,100-word memorandum sent to employees the week before the layoffs — to flatten the organization by eliminating some middle management, and to focus on productivity and platforms.

A majority of those on Glassdoor were optimistic about the future, at least prior to the layoffs. Of more than 400 reviews of Microsoft added to the site from April 18 to July 17, 52% believed business performance would improve, Glassdoor said. Of the remainder, 39% thought it would stay the same, and only 9% said it would worsen.

If Nadella is able to make good on his promises, even after the layoffs, he has the support of some current employees who took to Glassdoor.

"Frustrating politics and indecisive management can make things rough," said a senior program manager. "Lots of work left to do to change the engineering culture to modern standards, but I think Satya is up to the challenge."


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