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WHETHER EMPLOYEES WANT to try their hand at kite surfing or mountain biking, or would prefer a shopping weekend or theatre trip, Microsoft UK's nationwide sports and social clubs are sure to offer a subsidised event that tickles their fancy. As well as injecting some fun or relaxation and culture into staff's spare time, these activities are an opportunity for colleagues to get to know one another outside the office.
The 2,625-strong workforce reports that working in teams gives them a buzz, returning a 70% positive score. Team-mates go out of their way to help each other (79%) at Microsoft, one of just two firms to feature in all 10 of our Best Companies annual lists.
Managers at the global computer software, services and solutions organisation are allocated a "morale budget" to spend on events. Employees say that managers regularly express their appreciation when they do a good job (77%).
Microsoft staff are among the happiest in the country with the training they receive. They believe the experience they gain from their job is valuable for their future, earning the firm an 81% score which is beaten by just one other company. The job is good for their personal growth (80%). About £1,500 is spent every year on each employee's professional development, amounting to roughly 95 hours of formal training. Employees think highly of their managers, reporting that they share important knowledge (76%), help staff fulfil their potential (70%) and offer support (75%). They talk openly and honestly (80%) and care about job satisfaction (73%).
A mentoring programme encourages colleagues to learn from each other and, since it began five years ago, 15,500 Microsoft employees around the world have benefited.
Flexible working options are available for everyone and staff are fully equipped with the technology they need to facilitate this. Microsoft provides case studies on those working flexibly to give employees an insight into what is involved.
A top 10 score of 78% shows Microsoft's people find their work stimulating, and they are excited about the future of the firm (another 78% result).
Learn more about the 8 factors of workplace engagement here
Companies where employees are offered share options
Companies offering a minimum of 25 days annual leave
On-site gym or subsidised gym memberships
10% of staff undertake charitable activities during business hours
On-site nursery or vouchers
Companies offering a final salary or non-contributory pension scheme
At least 10 weeks' leave on full pay
Full family cover
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