A great example of the power of employee blogs can be found at Mini-Microsoft right now. The blog does act as a virtual water cooler for hundreds of Microsoft employees, who feel comfortable venting their frustrations without fear of retribution. Note that both he (the anonymous blogger who writes the Mini Microsoft blog) and Balmer were profiled in BusinessWeek this week.
When you compare their points of view it makes for an interesting perspective of what may actually be happening at Microsoft. If not that, at the very least it points to the disconnect that exists between top management and the rank and file.
Balmer on company morale: “We have as excited and engaged a team of folks as I can possibly imagine”Mini-Microsoft blog comment on company morale: “Morale amongst the rank and file remains universally low”
Balmer on bureaucracy and leadership: “Great companies and the way they work start with great leaders. We have fantastic leadership team in place. Our leadership team is empowered…”
Mini-Microsoft blog comments on bureaucracy and leadership: “Microsoft is very top-down heavy; even as an exec VP, your every decision is second-guessed and interfered with by Bill and Steve..”
And I could keep going with more examples on accountability, innovation, etc.
Companies just do not “control” their message anymore. I think that is a good thing – and it calls for senior managers and communications professionals to start talking frankly and openly rather than talking like politicians – both internally and externally!