Microsoft Wednesday announced four new employee workforce initiatives including changes to US-based policies and practices related to noncompete clause enforcement, confidentiality agreements in dispute resolutions, wage transparency across hiring practices and the initiation of a civil rights audit.
The four new initiatives are aimed at empowering employee mobility, fostering a safe space for concerns, increasing pay transparency and conducting a civil rights audit. These new policies are a result of Microsoft’s “listen first” approach which the company claims allows it to “identify what works, what doesn’t and how best to adjust.”
In practice, the new initiatives mean that Microsoft no longer plans to enforce noncompete clauses in the US. Additionally, Microsoft plans to eliminate from US settlement and separation agreements confidential language prohibiting workers from disclosing alleged conduct of illegal discrimination, harassment, retaliation, sexual assault or wage and hour violations in the workplace. Microsoft also plans to increase pay transparency by publicly disclosing salary ranges for hiring beginning no later than January 2023. The company also committed to a civil rights audit in 2023 of workforce policies.
Regarding the new workplace initiatives, Microsoft said:
We believe these workforce initiatives are positive changes for our employees and reflect our fundamental principle that people are the heart and soul of our company and our number one priority.