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Microsoft second round layoff satisfaction survey results

May 19th, 2009 · 7 Comments

In February we published Microsoft Laid-off employees layoff satisfaction survey result. On May 5, Microsoft had its second round of layoffs, let 3,000+ employees go. A number of former Microsoft employees had filled out our survey after the May 5th layoff.

Below is a summary of the survey result of Microsoft layoff round II.

Which department did you work for at your former employer?

The layoffs had affected many departments/groups within Microsoft. We’ve received survey responses from folks who worked in Services, Marketing, Research & Development, SMSG, etc.

How many days of advance notice did you get from the employer regarding the layoff?

Almost every survey respondent reported that he/she was given 5 days of advance notice.

What’s your severance package? (Salary, Medical, etc.)

  • The "standard package" is 2 weeks for every 6 months of employment at Microsoft, 100% COBRA coverage for 1 week per 6 months employed
  • Microsoft requires laid off employees sign an egregious severance agreement that limits their rights to due process and free speech. 
  • 80% of bonus at standard level. 
  • Vacation pay cashed out.

What’s the reason you were given for getting laid off?

Everyone was given the reason "position was eliminated" or "position no longer required/needed".

What do you think is the real reason that you got laid off?

  • MS has a rating called “professional in place” – meaning you may be very good at what you do, but you’re not on track for the next level. I know that I had that rating last year. 
  • I held a lot of stock options that were a liability to the company (even though they were under water).
  • I am not an H-1b or L-1 visa holder. Three  L-1 visa holders on my team in in the USA less than 6 months still have their jobs.  The American citizen over 50 was laid off and less qualified guest workers were retained.
  • It is easier to cut entire groups than to re-align performers into new roles.
  • I was a recent transfer, so it was the easy choice.
  • politics; age; use of medical benefits; politics

Please rate how your former employer communicated the layoff?

40% of the respondents gave a rating of Bad, while 60% gave a rating of "Terrible".

Please rate your former employer’s management

40% of the respondent gave a rating of Bad, while 60% gave a rating of "Terrible". 

Please rate your severance package

On average, people rates the severance package "Fair".

What were your top frustrations working at your former employer?

  • Ridiculous bureaucracy making it difficult/impossible to do my job.
  • The bureaucratic, meddling and useless middle management is strangling any true innovation or quick time to market products.
  • Any idea sailed up the management chain gets 100 different fingers in it, bundled into "platforms" or cross-product "synergies" and en route it is modified exponentially from its concept. 
  • Senior leadership running the company without a rudder. lack of management accountability
  • Age and citizenship discrimination.

What feedback do you have for your previous employer?

  • Get rid of Senior Management that has failed to provide direction and failed to deliver year after year. 
  • Corporate Greed. Corporate Greed. Corporate Greed.   
  • No ethics. Microsoft needs a culling. The problem is, the area that need the culling is the one making the cut decisions. Until someone brave enough wades through the middle layers of Microsoft’s organizations with a machete, the current cuts will at best slow down actual work and at worst derail and demoralize what could have been effective market plays. Get someone who can show leadership to run the company. fire Ballmer; concentrate on core businesses; integrate the corporate values at every level of the company

Any words of wisdom/suggestions you want to share with fellow hard-working professionals who’re concerned about layoffs?

  • I urge AMERICAN citizens to write their elected official and INSIST their elected officials pass Senator Durbin’s H-1B and L-1 Visa Fraud and Abuse Act.   Senator Durbin’s bill change today’s H-1B and L-1 laws that allow employers to layoff American citizens and GC holders and replace them with L-1 and H-1b. Corporate Visa laws are broken and urgently need to change to protect the American Professional middle class. 
  • When management is hell bent on secrecy, no vision or ability to articulate strategy … Nobody is safe. Everyone from the best performer to the worst is on the chopping block equally. it’s not the end of the world.
  • This is not the end of world. There is a lot of opportunities outside Microsoft.
  • Treat layoff as an opportunity to explore
  • Get your personal finance in order!!!

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      7 responses so far ↓

      • 1 TedHoward // May 19, 2009 at 11:06 pm

        It saddens me to see former MSFT FTE's revert to protectionism. Should it be illegal for MSFT to fire people from Washington State before people from New York? They're quite 'foreign,' and they are from much further away than Canadians from Vancouver. It's a knee-jerk reaction. I understand it, but the full consequences of protectionism can be quite bad.

      • 2 GeekMBA360 // May 20, 2009 at 7:49 pm

        Thanks for your comment, Ted. I think we need to remind folks that without foreign workers, we would never had companies such as Google, Sun Microsystem, Computer Associates, and many successful firms in high tech.

        Immigrants from India, China, Russian and other countries have played a huge role in shaping the high tech industry in Silicon Valley and beyond. when I was in studying computer science at UC Berkeley, a significant percentage of the students were foreign born. Not whole lot of American kids are studying engineering/science.

      • 3 Geetha // Jun 2, 2009 at 2:52 am

        Hai! I agree with the survey above. MS has become too politically and partial to people who are good / honest / integrity / loyal etc. It needsto look within and have a major overhauling of people and Management.

        This is not MS I saw during Bill Gates time which had honesty, Integrity, respect & trust of one another. It was a class apart and there was a feeling of pride which does not exist today.

      • 4 minimsft // Jun 18, 2009 at 2:57 pm

        any truth to rumors about class action against microsoft for fraudulently terminating stock options promised to laid off former employees?

      • 5 GeekMBA360 // Jun 18, 2009 at 3:24 pm

        Not sure about class action suits, but some respondents to my survey did say that they planned to take legal actions against microsoft. For example, one person said ” Loved working for former em ployer until the new 'manager' arrived and started replacing women on the team with men. How 1960 is that?? Beware the lawsuits. they are coming your way.”

        Quite a few former Microsoft employees complained about being laid off due to age, gender, or reverse racial discrimination.

        Regarding stock options, some people said that their stock options were under the water anyway.

      • 6 minimsft // Jun 18, 2009 at 6:57 pm

        any truth to rumors about class action against microsoft for fraudulently terminating stock options promised to laid off former employees?

      • 7 GeekMBA360 // Jun 18, 2009 at 7:24 pm

        Not sure about class action suits, but some respondents to my survey did say that they planned to take legal actions against microsoft. For example, one person said ” Loved working for former em ployer until the new 'manager' arrived and started replacing women on the team with men. How 1960 is that?? Beware the lawsuits. they are coming your way.”

        Quite a few former Microsoft employees complained about being laid off due to age, gender, or reverse racial discrimination.

        Regarding stock options, some people said that their stock options were under the water anyway.

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