A Year After an HR Crisis, Microsoft Employees Say They’re Still Waiting for Change
Two former employees say that a lack of HR action was a primary reason for leaving the company
On March 20, 2019, a Microsoft employee who had been at the company for three years sent an email to a collection of listservs for women at the company, asking how to move up in the organization. She had worked for years without a promotion, and said that her career had been limited because she was a woman. It was a spark to a tinderbox.
In the next few days, dozens and dozens of other women replied to the message, each sharing frustration and stories of discrimination and harassment at the company. Some said they had been subject to overt abuse, like being called a “bitch” during business functions, and others said they had been sexually harassed with no ramifications to the harassers. Microsoft’s top executives, including CEO Satya Nadella and top Human Resources (HR) exec Kathleen Hogan, were quickly CC’d on the chain.
“This thread has pulled the scab off a festering wound. The collective anger and frustration is palpable. A wide audience is now listening. And you know what? I’m good with that,” a Microsoft employee wrote in the email chain at the time.
On April 15, 2019, Nadella responded with an email to the entire company, promising reforms to HR that would better serve employees, as well as an annual transparency report that would tell employees how many cases were investigated and how they were resolved.
More than a year later, Microsoft employees say that they haven’t seen the report the company promised.
In the days leading up to the publication of this article, OneZero reached out to Microsoft asking about this transparency report. The company responded to other questions, but did not comment on the status of this report.
After OneZero published this story, a Microsoft spokesperson said that the company had in fact built an internal website that gives company-wide data on investigations. The spokesperson did not offer more information, and Microsoft employees who spoke to OneZero about incidents at the company said they had not heard of this website.