Transforming the Culture to stay relevant in attracting and retaining Talents

Sharing Learnings from Microsoft´s cultural transformation journey and how hybrid work is defining the company’s management capabilities.

At Microsoft, we believe that Leadership Principles aren’t just for senior leaders. They’re for everyone. The three attributes we believe are most important for leaders are Create Clarity, Generate Energy, and Deliver Success. Taking the pandemic situation, it could be said that nothing is more important than creating clarity. This clarity not only came from our most senior leaders but also came from our crisis management teams and our employees across the world. And the most important and clear message we wanted to come through, was that the health and safety of our employees is our number one priority. Our priorities were frequent communication, transparency, and learning, all while communicating with care and empathy for all our colleagues around the world. We also posted all key information on our company SharePoint, a vehicle we use to communicate at scale. And we didn’t stop at internal communications.

In addition to creating clarity, we wanted to ensure our employees remained as positive as possible, intending to generate energy for each other and our customers. We shared tips with our employees on working from home and encouraged them to share that same content with customers, partners, educators, and government entities. Kathleen Hogan, our CHRO, activated our already established communications channel with people managers to provide guidance, answer their common questions, and welcome input. Leaders across the business areas began communicating regularly, creating space for people to share their top-of-mind issues, and support their teams for both business and emotional needs. Our CEO Satya Nadella had a standing monthly all-employee Q&A with both an in-person experience as well as online using technologies like Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Stream, and Yammer to scale his conversation. We successfully shifted this forum to an online-only experience after the Puget Sound area was under a shelter-in-place order. As our leaders communicated frequently with employees, they were intentional about thanking employees for continuing to support each other and our customers. These messages focused on how our employees continued to deliver success, despite the limitations.

Using our Leadership Principles as our communications framework meant that employees knew what we were going to do, when, and why. We’ve heard time and again that the level of detail and frequency helped people feel confident that Microsoft both had a plan to take care of its employees and customers and to keep the business moving forward as well.


Reinhard Nissl is currently leading the Talent Management function for Microsoft Germany. Over the last 16 years, he developed as HR Professional in various roles at Microsoft. As HR Director for the Central & Eastern Europe HQ as well as Talent Acquisition Lead he leads the multi-country region –  including Malta – for Microsoft HR. Prior to that, he worked as global HR Biz Partner Lead for Microsoft Dynamics internationally. Reinhard has a diploma in economics and started his career as HR Consultant in the automotive industry before he joined Microsoft. Reinhard lives in Munich. He is married and a passionate Tennis Player.

Reinhard Nissl
Reinhard NisslHR Director - Microsoft