Letting Employees Choose Their Next Assignment

Managers of a product team at Microsoft offered employees the chance to pick their next assignment, rather than having the leaders hand down those decisions. In this case, to retain top talent in a competitive market and to boost employee satisfaction, team leaders pitched their projects to employees, allowing them to evaluate the opportunities and chart their own course. Some managers worried that participants would only join teams with the coolest leaders. But employees soon realized the potential for greater advancement on teams with fewer members, which helped balance the distribution.

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