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How Microsoft Builds a Sense of Community Among 144,000 Employees

Source | | Rasmus Hougaard | Jacqueline Carter | Kathleen Hogan

As organizations become increasingly global, and remote, human connection and cohesiveness is deteriorating. For many leaders, walking around the office, greeting newcomers, and connecting with people is no longer an option. Getting together in person to discuss pressing matters has been replaced by meeting through online conferences.

At Microsoft, where one of us (Kathleen) works and for which two of us (Rasmus and Jacqueline) consult, Satya Nadella and his team have been experimenting with digital tools to bridge this gap. Below are the some of the practical strategies they rely on to build community and create connection between employees and leaders.

Enterprise-Level Social Networking

Enterprise social networking services are an important channel for employees to connect and share ideas with each other. Microsoft uses Yammer as a channel for Nadella and other leaders to engage with employees, listening to and learning what’s on their minds. On a “CEO Connection” page, employees can pose questions and connect with other employees on a gamut of topics — everything from product strategy to employee benefits. This helps to bolster a sense of community and creates a direct connection between employees and leadership.

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