Microsoft sees rise in ‘boomerang employees’ since Nadella became CEO

6 Mar 2018

Satya Nadella. Image: Heisenberg Media/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Many employees are returning to Microsoft since Satya Nadella took the reins.

Satya Nadella has been CEO of Microsoft since 2014 and his tenure has seen thousands of former employees of the company in the US rehired, according to a report in The Seattle Times.

The paper’s data showed that 14.1pc of Microsoft hires in 2016 were former employees while in 2013, this figure was closer to the 12pc mark.

The number of new hires in 2015 that were returning employees was around 4pc, a few months after Nadella settled into his then-new role as CEO.

The company’s US headquarters is in Redmond, close to Seattle.

Boomerang employees not uncommon in tech

One former employee, Dan Lester, said he had been away from Microsoft for more than six years when former colleagues he met during his 13-year stint there encouraged him to return. When he left in 2009, he had felt that rapid project launches were frustrating teams and leading to a burnout culture.

Many tech firms have had ‘boomerang employees’, or staff who have returned to a company after a break, particularly as the industry is highly competitive with a heavy demand for skilled and experienced people.

A more collaborative workplace

For his part, Nadella is emphasising a more collaborative company culture, dubbed ‘One Microsoft’. Previous CEOs Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer had been criticised for overseeing an atmosphere mired in internal competition among managers and teams, as well as pitting staff against each other in annual performance reviews.

The new evaluation system is encouraging discussion and collaboration among teams, with Nadella emphasising that there is no longer a need to prove you are the smartest person in the room at any given time.

The replacement of the ‘stack rankings’ annual employee review system in 2014 has seen a shift in the company culture. The new review allows staff to demonstrate how they worked alone as well as their collaborative skills in team situations.

The company’s Azure cloud computing platform is attracting former staff back, as well as its HoloLens AR technology.

In a time when all of the major tech companies are vying for a wide array of business sectors, a positive company culture could see certain firms edging out their rivals.

Satya Nadella. Image: Heisenberg Media/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects