Employee Experience

Exploring onboarding process at Microsoft

4 Mins read

Onboarding process at Microsoft plays a crucial role in setting the stage for a successful start at this renowned technology giant. As enthusiastic explorers of company cultures and practices, we previously delved into the world of Microsoft in our article titled The Company Culture at Microsoft. Now, we embark on a new journey to unravel a specific aspect that holds the key to a seamless integration: the onboarding process.

Ranked 14th on the Fortune 500 list, Microsoft stands tall as an American technology giant with presence in 190 countries. With its founding roots dating back to 1975, Microsoft has solidified its headquarters in Redmond, Washington. Known for its expertise in diverse technological verticals such as the Windows Operating System, Business Software, and Windows Applications & Platforms, the company boasts an impressive employee base of 221,000 as of 2022— hence a notable increase of 22.1% from the previous year.

Get ready to discover the inner workings of Microsoft’s onboarding journey. We will provide valuable insights, anecdotes, and guidance for both aspiring Microsoft employees and curious enthusiasts alike.

5 Distinctive Elements of the Microsoft Onboarding Process

Initiating the Onboarding Journey

The process of onboarding at Microsoft commences with the careful completion of pre-boarding formalities. During this phase, new hires are seamlessly integrated into the company’s ecosystem. They are granted access to essential communication tools like email, chat platforms, project management systems, and detailed instruction manuals. These provisions are particularly valuable for virtual onboarding experiences, ensuring smooth and effective communication channels. Practically, this works even when employees are physically distant.

In addition, Microsoft has garnered appreciation from remote employees by timely providing them with Microsoft Surface devices, accompanied by comprehensive setup instruction manuals. This thoughtful gesture has proven to be invaluable, allowing remote employees to stay connected and readily available, especially during the challenging times brought forth by the pandemic.

Fostering Success in the First 90 Days

Recognizing the pivotal importance of the initial 90 days, Microsoft places significant emphasis on ensuring that new hires feel confident in their career choice. During this critical period, the company goes above and beyond to equip employees with comprehensive knowledge about its products, services, business operations, company culture, roles, and expectations.

To facilitate this process, Microsoft leverages innovative onboarding software that automates various onboarding meetings, monitors progress, and grants access to essential resources such as employee handbooks. This technology-driven approach enables new hires to efficiently navigate through the wealth of information and materials, setting the foundation for their success within the organization.

Fostering Connections through Team Meet and Greets

At Microsoft, the company’s open and inclusive culture is reflected in its warm welcome extended to every newcomer. Recognizing the importance of building relationships, Microsoft organizes team building activities and social events. The aim is to facilitate introductions and foster camaraderie among employees.

One notable event is the on-site First Day celebration, where managers and team members together welcome the new joiner. This reception serves as an opportunity to bridge the gap between existing employees and those just starting their journey at Microsoft. By facilitating interactions and fostering a sense of harmony, these events contribute to a seamless transition for new hires, enabling them to quickly integrate into their roles and become valuable contributors to the team.

Nurturing Support through the Buddy Program

As a crucial component of the onboarding process at Microsoft, the company has implemented a “buddy program.” This program assigns a designated “buddy,” an experienced employee within the organization, to support and guide new joiners. The buddy acts as a mentor, offering assistance in navigating company culture, norms, and processes.

Through the buddy program, the assigned colleague assists the new hire in arranging meetings, acquainting them with the company’s values, and clarifying reporting relationships to ensure smooth communication channels. This personalized guidance contributes to a seamless integration into the company. Furthermore, it enhances productivity, and fosters a sense of satisfaction among new hires. Overall, the buddy program at Microsoft aims to provide an enriching and gratifying experience that empowers new employees to thrive in their roles.

onboarding process at Microsoft 1

Tailored Training for Individual Growth

At Microsoft, new employees embark on a journey of personalized one-on-one training and coaching. This training is carefully designed to facilitate their seamless transition into their roles and responsibilities.

Microsoft thoughtfully customizes these training sessions to cater to the specific needs and requirements of each individual’s role and position. Accordingly, by focusing on role-specific training, Microsoft ensures that employees receive the essential tools, knowledge, and best practices to excel in their respective positions. The aim is to equip them with the necessary skills and expertise to not only meet but exceed performance expectations. This results in paving the way for their professional growth within the organization.

Embracing Growth: A Transformative Onboarding Experience at Microsoft

Aaditya Ailawadhi shared his personal onboarding experience at Microsoft. In the first week as a Microsoft FTE, the new hire discovered a distinct approach to onboarding. Furthermore, he emphasized a gradual integration into the team. Encouraged to explore evolving dynamics, they engaged in insightful one-on-one meetings with designers across verticals. Embracing a growth mindset culture, Microsoft fosters an environment where failure is seen as an opportunity for learning and resilience. He expressed:

It feels okay to fail, as long as I take a deep breath, acknowledge my humanity, and try again.

Aaditya Ailawadhi

 This transformative shift allows employees to embrace their humanity, take risks, and achieve remarkable results.

Why is the onboarding experience important for you?

Onboarding serves as a vital process, enabling employees to familiarize themselves with their role, the company’s values, and the opportunities. Accordingly, by fostering engagement, onboarding cultivates a workforce dedicated to the company’s triumph and bolsters retention by fostering a sense of belonging. Alarming statistics reveal that 1 in 10 employees leave due to subpar onboarding, but 37% report inadequate support from their managers during the onboarding experience. Failure to implement effective onboarding procedures leads to increased turnover and diminished productivity, resulting in substantial financial losses. However, when employees are engaged, they are 5 times less likely to leave. Meanwhile exceptional onboarding increases the likelihood of employees staying for at least 3 years to an impressive 69%


Following the embracement of a culture of growth and innovation, Microsoft’s onboarding process stands out. It stands out as a testament to the company’s commitment to fostering success, building strong connections, and empowering its employees. From the seamless initiation of the onboarding journey and comprehensive support to the emphasis on team building and the guidance provided by the buddy program, Microsoft prioritizes the well-rounded development of its new hires. Additionally, the tailored training and coaching enable individuals to excel in their roles. By embracing a growth mindset and acknowledging the value of learning from failure, Microsoft creates an environment that encourages exploration. But, not only, as the teams also focus on resilience and exceptional achievements. As Microsoft continues to evolve and lead in the ever-changing technology landscape, its onboarding process remains a pivotal factor in nurturing talent, fostering professional growth, and cultivating a sense of belonging.

Further Reading

The Company Culture at Microsoft
The Company Culture at Amazon
Becoming a pet-friendly workplace
Navigating the career lattice: empowering dynamic growth paths

99 posts

About author
Fatjona Gërguri is the content writer for Employee Experience Magazine, covering the relevant topics about employee experience, organizational culture and general HR topics.
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