Saturday 21 October 2017

Passion, personality and perfect nails...Microsoft Ireland's key employee criteria - and the firm's top perks

Artist's impression of new Microsoft building in Leopardstown
Pic: Microsoft
Artist's impression of new Microsoft building in Leopardstown Pic: Microsoft
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

Microsoft's new €134m campus is currently under construction - and the Leopardstown development plans to house the firm's 1,200-strong workforce in Ireland under one roof.

The 34,554 sq m building - a site of just under 3 hectares - will be the Irish base for the multinational firm which has been here for over 30 years.

The new campus is located on a wooded setting backing on to Leopardstown racecourse. A running and walking trail is being created around the perimeter of the site, while rooftop terraces will overlook a landscape filled with greenery and bordered by mountains. 

"As someone who loves technology, it’s thrilling that the new campus will widely deploy the latest Microsoft technology," said Joanne Morrissey, HR Director at Microsoft Ireland.

"Delivering intelligent cloud platforms is central to the company’s support of businesses of all sizes and across all sectors, and the new campus is making full use of this technology." 

But what can potential candidates looking to join the Microsoft family do to impress the HR team? Passion is what needs to be seen first and foremost, according to Ms Morrissey.

"Our mission is to empower every person and organisation on the planet to achieve more, so we always look for people who share this goal," she told independent.ie.

"We also look for curiosity, a desire to learn and for someone who looks at where we are heading next and wants to help us get there."

And Microsoft do not exclude go-getters without advanced degrees that have acquired their skills and experience through non-collegiate avenues, and has established an association with FIT (Fastrack to IT) for many years.

"Most recently we collaborated on the Youth2Work programme which has given 13,500 young people the chance to acquire skills that are in demand by the IT sector," Ms Morrissey said.

"Many of these youths would previously have been in danger of becoming long-term unemployed and, instead, have now gone on to further education and roles in industry."

Nonetheless, every candidate wants to know how to set themselves apart from the crowd but, believe it or not, one of the most impressive qualities is perhaps the most basic: be yourself.

Artist's impression of new Microsoft building in Leopardstown
Pic: Microsoft
Artist's impression of new Microsoft building in Leopardstown Pic: Microsoft

"It’s incredibly refreshing to meet a candidate who has a good sense of themselves and knows what they want to achieve," said Ms Morrissey. At Microsoft, we want to give our people the opportunity to grow so if a candidate can tangibly show the steps they have taken to reach a personal milestone, they will really stand out." 

On the flipside, not being transparent during the selection process - and fudging your CV just a little bit - is a complete no-no for Microsoft.

"Customers place their trust in us, as a consequence we hold our employees to high standards. Professionalism is really important – you should always conduct yourself in a way you can be proud of," said Ms Morrissey.

Ireland is one of the few places around the globe where every area of Microsoft’s business is represented. According to Ms Morrissey, team here fulfils every possible function from finance, operations, sales and R&D to development and engineering.

"That’s really exciting for someone who has a career progression in mind," she said.

"We think of ourselves as One Microsoft, with cross-functional teams co-locating so people learn from each other."

Microsoft's diverse workforce in Ireland is made up of people from over 57 countries and embody the full range of life stages from recent graduates to longer term employees - with many working at Microsoft since the company first opened an office here.

"Diversity of people and capabilities is core to our needs as a company to ensure we continue to provide a value proposition for our clients...There is no one single ‘type’ of Microsoft customer so with a diverse customer base we of course need our employees to reflect that diverse range of needs and capabilities," said Ms Morrissey.

With diversity enriching everything the 'One' family does at Microsoft, the firm has a wide range of targeted programmes that promotes diversity and inclusion in place.

When it comes to gender, this includes Codess, Inspiring Careers, Women at Microsoft, as well as being founder members of Connecting Women in Technology.

"All these programmes have as their goal the creation of a thriving technology sector which enables women to fulfil their potential," said Ms Morrissey.

"We also support GirlCrew Pro – a series of events that see incredible women sharing the ups as well as the downs of their career paths and the winding roads it often took to get to where they are today." 

Microsoft also has a distinguished track record when it comes to supporting its LGBT team members. Last year, the Workplace Equality Index Awards recognised Microsoft as one of the Top 5 Best Places to Work for LGBT Inclusion. Additionally, Microsoft’s Dan Klein was named among the Top 50 LGBT Ally Executives in the OUTstanding and FT rankings 2016.

Ms Morrissey believes that this groundwork of inclusion lays the foundation for a successful transition to the new campus in Leopardstown.

New team members that come into the company have lots to offer," she said.

"That view is widely shared across our business and we make it a priority to pair or ‘buddy’ new recruits with more established team members so they learn the most, and also so we can benefit from their fresh perspective."  

But securing a position at Microsoft is not all work and no play as the company has injected energy into establishing a work-life balance for its employees.

"Microsoft has developed Fuel Your Everything, an employee wellbeing programme that aims to assist employees in fuelling their mind, body and life," said Ms Morrissey.

"This holistic wellbeing offering is provided in two ways: through a set of Wellbeing Experiences, which aims to develop employee capability or key life skills, including a parenting programme, financial wellbeing, mindfulness, and our peak performance programme.

"There is also a wide range of Wellness Centre treatments such as health screening, physiotherapy, dental and optical, massage, reflexology, barber and even a nail salon!"

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