Microsoft Silicon Valley is no satellite office. The company employs more than 2,500 people in the Bay Area, many of whom work at the Sunnyvale campus.
Qi Lu, Microsoft's executive vice president of applications and services engineering once said that Sunnyvale “represents our commitment to Microsoft Silicon Valley as a strategic location for the company in the heart of a rich technology ecosystem and talent pool.”
But being surrounded by more tech startups than anywhere else in the world and offices for Apple, Google, and LinkedIn the same little area, means that you have to bring your A-Game. The contest for talent is heavy and retention requires providing more than just impactful work and competitive income.
One of the things that differentiates Microsoft Silicon Valley’s Sunnyvale campus is its sense of camaraderie.
Principal Service Engineer Tim Allen says, “Half of our office space is an open floor plan which fosters collaboration and spontaneous get-togethers.”
“One of my favorite things is our monthly ‘Show & Tell,’” he says. “It’s done with minimal prep time, so there’s no need to create an elaborate deck or anything like that. People show up and make little presentations, almost like mini-TED Talks, on cool stuff that they’re working on. There’s a celebratory atmosphere and it often becomes a bit of a party.”
Hady Abou ElKheir, Principal Development Manager at Ads Display Experiences, has been called the “ringleader” behind many of the office’s social events. He laughs, “I get a lot of energy from the new ideas and culture that we have here in MSV. We create a hip atmosphere and we love people to have fun in the office. I really believe that’s why most of my team has stayed together for about 6 years.”
Sonia Nijhawan, Program Manager at Ads Display Experiences, originally worked in Redmond but found a new home with what she calls “the startup vibe” in Silicon Valley. Trained in many forms of dance from Bollywood to ballet, Sonia was the force behind her team doing a fun video for National Dance Day led and organized by television's So You Think You Can Dance?
“We are always doing creative things, inside and outside of work,” she explains. “And I’m a big believer in exercising all parts of your brain, so combining dance with our usual computer science swag fit perfectly.”
Sonia says, “At first, a number of people were a little reluctant to dance in front of a camera. After all, we are software engineers. But soon enough everyone came around and actually became really enthusiastic. And that’s why I love our team – always ready to try something new and outside their comfort zone!”
Hady says, “We’ve done dance and also a jet ski event too. We haven’t decided what our next big project will be but it’ll be something fun. It’s all about keeping people excited.”
Sonia explains it another way, “The majority of our time is spent with our coworkers. I want to work with a team I enjoy being around and am inspired by, and I've truly found that here in Sunnyvale."