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  • Companies with Great Cultures and Hybrid Work Models – In Depth 

Companies with Great Cultures and Hybrid Work Models – In Depth 

Great Cultures:  Microsoft 

Satya Nadella, who became the CEO of Microsoft in 2014, has significantly shaped the company's culture during his tenure. When he became CEO, “he announced it was time to “rediscover the soul of Microsoft, our reason for being” (Tabrizi, 2023). He introduced a new leadership approach and set of values that have had a profound impact on how Microsoft operates, and “he reoriented the company to “empowering every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more” (Tabrizi, 2023). The culture shift they’ve had in recent years has also helped them become more innovative. It was a “cultural shift to stop playing defense and go on the offense” (Tabrizi, 2023). Nadella also put a big emphasis on customers and got rid of several products and focused on what customers were really using. Here are some ways in which Satya Nadella has shaped Microsoft's culture: 

  • Growth Mindset: Nadella emphasized the importance of having a growth mindset within the company. This means encouraging employees to embrace challenges, learn from failures, and constantly seek opportunities for improvement. This shift has led to a more innovative and adaptable culture, where employees are encouraged to take risks and learn from their experiences. An example is that he freed up its engineering talent and allowed them to explore new possibilities. Nadella stated, “they came to Microsoft with big dreams, but it felt like all they really did was deal with upper management, execute taxing processes, and bicker in meetings” (Nadrizi, 2023). He also reduced hierarchies, which gave the engineers more freedom. 
  • Empathy and Customer Focus: Nadella emphasized the importance of understanding and empathizing with customers' needs. This customer-centric approach has driven Microsoft to create products and services that better align with what customers want, rather than solely focusing on technical excellence. This has helped Microsoft regain its position as a leader in the tech industry.  
  • Inclusion and Diversity: Under Nadella's leadership, Microsoft has placed a strong emphasis on creating an inclusive and diverse workplace. He believes that diverse teams lead to better innovation and problem-solving. Microsoft has taken steps to increase the representation of women and underrepresented minorities in its workforce, as well as in leadership positions. 
  • Openness and Collaboration: Nadella has encouraged a more open and collaborative approach both internally and externally. This is evident in Microsoft's shift toward open-source development, partnerships with other tech companies, and a more cooperative stance within the industry. This approach has helped Microsoft foster innovation and stay relevant in a rapidly changing tech landscape. Nadella knew the importance of having the engineers on board. He brought them all together for the world’s largest hackathon. He had then worked on projects they wanted. This helped foster collaboration and solving problems in a fast-paced environment (Nadrizi, 2023).  
  • Cloud and AI Focus: Nadella recognized the potential of cloud computing and artificial intelligence early on. He shifted Microsoft's focus toward these areas, which has led to the successful development of products like Microsoft Azure and integration of AI capabilities into various products. This strategic shift has transformed Microsoft's business model and positioned it as a leader in these emerging technologies. 
  • Decentralized Decision-Making: Nadella introduced the concept of "One Microsoft," emphasizing the importance of working together as a unified company. At the same time, he empowered individual teams and divisions to make decisions that are aligned with their specific goals and expertise. This has fostered a sense of ownership and accountability among employees. 
  • Learning and Development: Nadella has encouraged a culture of continuous learning and development. He initiated programs such as "Microsoft Learn" to help employees acquire new skills and stay up to date with technological advancements. This focus on learning has helped employees adapt to the evolving industry landscape. 
  • Social Responsibility: Under Nadella's leadership, Microsoft has taken a more active role in addressing social and environmental issues. The company has committed to becoming carbon-negative by 2030 and has invested in initiatives related to accessibility, education, and sustainability. 
  • Overall, Satya Nadella's leadership has transformed Microsoft's culture from a primarily closed and competitive approach to one that is more open, collaborative, empathetic, and focused on driving innovation for the benefit of both the company and its customers. 

Great Cultures:  Workday 

Workday is known for their intentional focus on culture, and the CEO Aneel Bhusri and co-founder Dave Duffield made it a priority from its inception (Purcell, 2021). In fact, they interviewed their first 500 hires to see how they aligned with Workday’s culture values to make sure they would be a fit. Interviewing candidates for culture fit continues to be a priority. At the core of their values are employees, innovation, integrity, and fun. Workday strives to maintain a supportive workplace culture where employees feel connected to each other and the company’s purpose, which they believed would produce high engagement and low turnover.  

Bhursi stated “Our culture empowers employees to achieve organizational objectives, give their personal best, and work together as a team,” and “Our culture ultimately defines who we are as a company and the customer experience we provide” (Purcell, 2021). Here are ways in which Workday’s CEO has shaped its culture: 

  • Customer-Centric Approach: Aneel Bhusri has emphasized a strong commitment to customer satisfaction and success. Workday's culture under his leadership has focused on understanding customers' needs and working to deliver solutions that address those needs effectively. This approach has led to a culture of responsiveness and a dedication to delivering value to customers. 
  • Innovation and Continuous Improvement: Bhusri has encouraged a culture of innovation within Workday. The company has consistently introduced new features and capabilities to its software, aiming to stay ahead of the curve and provide cutting-edge solutions for its customers. This focus on innovation has shaped Workday's culture into one that embraces change and adapts to industry trends. 
  • Collaboration and Teamwork:  Bhusri has fostered a culture of collaboration and teamwork at Workday. The company values open communication and cross-functional cooperation, enabling employees to work together to solve complex problems and achieve shared goals. For example, Workday provides different socialization opportunities for its engineers both during work and after work. These opportunities help people connect and form friendships, which in turn leads to business outcomes and interpersonal teamwork (Purcell, 2021) This collaborative culture has helped Workday maintain a dynamic and agile approach to business. 
  • Employee Development and Well-Being: Bhusri has shown a commitment to employee development and well-being. Workday's culture has included initiatives to support employee growth, learning, and career advancement. For example, Workday has a weekly newsletter “First Thing Tuesday” that highlights employee’s personal milestones and business updates (Glandore, 2023). Workday also provides an app and dashboard where employees can track their progress and see career paths. Additionally, Bhusri's leadership has focused on creating a positive work environment that promotes work-life balance and employee satisfaction. 
  • Diversity and Inclusion: Workday, under Bhusri's leadership, has made efforts to promote diversity and inclusion. The company has aimed to create a workplace that values different perspectives and backgrounds. This commitment to diversity has contributed to a more inclusive and innovative culture. 
  • Transparency and Communication:  Bhusri has advocated for transparency in communication within the company. He has been known to share information about company performance, goals, and challenges with employees, fostering a culture of openness and trust. He also makes himself very accessible to all employees, for example, by sitting in cubes along with employees. He says that by doing that, it creates a culture of being friendly, open, and accessible (Krigsman, 2016).  


Hybrid Work Models – Companies That Have Made It Work 


Hybrid Model Overview: “At Microsoft, we value and support flexibility as part of our hybrid workplace where every employee can do their best work by working the way they work best. A hybrid workplace is a mix of workstyles across work site, work location and work hours” (Microsoft, 2023). 

Microsoft was one of the first companies to send their workforce home during the COVID lockdowns. They now see that flexible work is here to stay and have developed a hybrid work strategy for all its employees. Microsoft knows that having a flexible workplace will also be critical in attracting talent in today’s world. Microsoft is fully accepting this new norm and is allowing employees to choose where they want to work on any day.   

Microsoft understands there is not one size that fits all and has embraced flexibility in their hybrid model. An employee survey conducted in 2021 found that 90% of Microsoft employees felt included and productivity wasn’t impacted with employees going remote.  

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said this “Our new data shows there is no one-size-fits-all approach to hybrid work, as employee expectations continue to change. The only way for organizations to solve for this complexity is to embrace flexibility across their entire operating model, including the ways people work, the places they inhabit, and how they approach business process” (Microsoft, 2021) Their guidance on hybrid work includes the following: 

  • Work site (the physical place where you work): Some employees are required to be onsite while some are suited to work offsite. Working from home (less than 50%) is now the standard with manager and employee alignment.  
  • Work hours: The standard is work hour flexibility for most roles. Employees are encouraged to work the hours that are best for them.  
  • Work location (the geographic location where you work): Each organization at Microsoft has their own guidelines.  
  • The key to Microsoft’s success with their hybrid work strategy is understanding that there isn’t a one size fits all when it comes to hybrid work and to embrace flexibility.  

Here are some key points: 

  • Flexibility: Microsoft's hybrid work model aimed to provide employees with increased flexibility in where and how they work. This flexibility allows employees to balance remote work and in-person collaboration based on their job roles, tasks, and personal preferences. 
  • Remote Work Options: The model acknowledges the benefits of remote work, allowing employees to work remotely for part of the week or as needed. This acknowledges the value of remote work in terms of improved work-life balance, reduced commuting time, and increased productivity for certain tasks. 
  • In-Person Collaboration: Microsoft recognized the importance of in-person collaboration for certain types of work, such as brainstorming, team-building, and creative problem-solving. As such, the hybrid model also supports in-person work at the office or other designated spaces when face-to-face interaction is beneficial. 
  • Technology Enablement: Microsoft's hybrid work model is built on the idea that technology should facilitate seamless communication and collaboration regardless of where employees are located. Microsoft's suite of productivity tools, such as Microsoft Teams and SharePoint, play a crucial role in enabling effective remote and hybrid work. 
  • Workspace Adaptation: The model suggests that physical workspaces may need to be adapted to accommodate a hybrid work environment. This could involve redesigning office spaces to promote collaboration when employees are present while also ensuring that remote workers can participate effectively in meetings and discussions. 

Microsoft's hybrid work environment is designed to give employees the flexibility to work from anywhere, while also providing the tools and resources they need to collaborate and be productive. Employees are not required to be in the office a specific amount of time, but they are encouraged to come to the office at least once a week to collaborate with their team and build relationships with their colleagues. 

Microsoft provides a variety of tools and resources to support its hybrid work environment, including: 

  • Microsoft Teams: A unified communication and collaboration platform that allows employees to chat, video call, share files, and collaborate on projects, whether they're in the office or working remotely. 
  • Microsoft 365: A suite of cloud-based productivity tools that includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneDrive, which employees can access from anywhere. 
  • Microsoft Viva: A digital workplace platform that provides employees with personalized insights, recommendations, and tools to help them stay productive and engaged. 

Microsoft also provides a variety of training and resources to help employees succeed in a hybrid work environment, such as tips on how to set boundaries, manage their time effectively, and collaborate with remote colleagues. 

Here are some of the benefits of Microsoft's hybrid work environment: 

  • Flexibility: Employees can choose to work from the office, home, or anywhere else in the world, if they have an internet connection. 
  • Productivity: Microsoft's tools and resources are designed to help employees be productive, whether they're in the office or working remotely. 
  • Collaboration: Microsoft Teams and other collaboration tools make it easy for employees to work together on projects, regardless of where they are located. 
  • Work-life balance: Microsoft's hybrid work environment allows employees to have a better work-life balance by reducing their commute time and giving them the flexibility to work when and where they're most productive. 

Overall, Microsoft's hybrid work environment is designed to give employees the best of both worlds: the flexibility to work from anywhere, while also providing them with the tools and resources they need to be productive and engaged. 



Hybrid Model Overview: Employees will work 1-3 days in the office. Employees that are not near an office and do not need to be at the office to work can work remotely full-time with only a small percentage working full-time onsite.  

As with Microsoft, Salesforce had to make quick changes when COVID lockdowns took place. What they discovered was that it was no longer necessary to be at the office 9-5 and employees wanted more. Early on in the pandemic, Salesforce conducted employee surveys to see how they were feeling and thinking. What came out was that about 80% wanted to maintain access to a physical office. Here is how Salesforce is giving employees flexibility: 

  • Flex: Employees will work 1-3 days in the office for team collaboration, client meetings, etc.  
  • Fully remote: Employees that don’t live near an office will be fully remote. 
  • Office-based: This is for a small percentage of employees that have roles requiring it. 
  • The key to their successful hybrid model that is employee centric and being flexible and open to change.  

Here are some key points:  

  • Flexible Work Options: Salesforce's hybrid work model aimed to provide employees with increased flexibility in how and where they work. The company recognized the benefits of both remote work and in-person collaboration, and it aimed to strike a balance between the two. 
  • Remote Work: Like many other companies, Salesforce acknowledged the value of remote work in terms of increased work-life balance, reduced commuting time, and expanded access to talent regardless of geographic location. The company intended to support remote work arrangements for employees whose roles allowed for it. 
  • In-Person Collaboration: Salesforce also recognized the importance of in-person collaboration, especially for activities that benefit from face-to-face interaction, such as team building, brainstorming, and creative problem-solving. The company indicated that it would provide spaces for employees to come together in person when needed. 
  • Technology Enablement: As a technology company, Salesforce's hybrid work model relied on its own collaboration and communication tools to facilitate remote and hybrid work. Salesforce's CRM platform, Chatter, and other tools were designed to support effective communication and collaboration regardless of physical location. 



Hybrid Model Overview: Autodesk’s hybrid-first model is named Flex Forward which encompasses employee centric policies. Employees engage in a combination of remote and on-site work. 

Flexibility has been key in Autodesk’s transition to a hybrid work model. They understand that by offering a hybrid work environment, it will help employees thrive which in turn will help customers, as employees are more engaged. With the implementation of their new Flex Forward hybrid program, they have seen a 58% jump in job applications, and an increase in female applicants as well as increase in candidates from underrepresented groups (Burton and Confino, 2023). Attrition has also declined, and their productivity increased during the pandemic. Here are the three ways they are doing hybrid work:  

  • Office based: Employees will work primarily at the office with an option of 20% remote work.  
  • Hybrid: Employees will split their time between the office and remote work. 
  • Home-based: Employees that don’t live near an office will be fully remote. 

Autodesk has recognized that being flexible is important to their success. Managers, under this framework, are empowered to make decisions that best fit their teams.   

Here are some key points: 

  • Diverse talent: The hybrid model has caused an increase in job applicants. There have been more females and underrepresented groups applying. Allowing flexibility has grown the candidate pool.  
  • Global mobility: Employees can request to work up to 30 days a year in another country remotely to experience different cultures and spend time with their family. 
  • Collaboration: Employees are encouraged to gather with intention, so fewer in person meetings instead of meeting just for the sake of meeting. In-person meetings for high-stake projects will continue to be supported, and offices will be redesigned to accommodate these types of meetings.  
  • Flexibility: Autodesk’s remote workforce has increased from 18% three years ago to 24% today. Flexibility in work has been a priority. Autodesk believes in making the employee happy, which in turn increases engagement and creates a better business outcome. There won’t be any back to office mandates at Autodesk. 
  • Remote Requirements: Autodesk does not require employees to work in the office. Autodesk has a hybrid-first work culture, which means that employees can choose to work from the office, home, or anywhere else in the world, if they have an internet connection.  Autodesk has a number of policies and resources in place to support its hybrid work environment, including: 
  • Flexible work hours: Employees are allowed to set their own hours and work at their own pace. 
  • Remote work stipend: Employees are given a stipend to help them purchase equipment for their home office, such as a computer, desk, and chair. 
  • Global mobility: Hybrid and home-based employees can request to work outside their home country for up to 30 calendar days a year, plus vacation and holidays. 

Autodesk also provides a variety of training and resources to help employees succeed in a hybrid work environment, such as tips on how to set boundaries, manage their time effectively, and collaborate with remote colleagues. 

Overall, Autodesk's hybrid work environment is designed to give employees the flexibility to work from anywhere, while also providing them with the tools and resources they need to be productive and engaged. 


The most popular US company remote work policies are those that offer employees flexibility and autonomy. These policies often allow employees to work from anywhere if they have a reliable internet connection. They may also allow employees to set their own hours and work at their own pace. 

Some of the most popular US company remote work policies include: 

  • Fully remote: Employees can work from anywhere, without any requirement to come into the office. 
  • Hybrid: Employees are required to come into the office for a certain number of days per week or month, but the rest of the time they can work from anywhere. 
  • Remote-first: Employees are primarily remote, but they may be required to come into the office for occasional meetings or events. 
  • Work from anywhere: Employees can work from anywhere, but they may be required to travel to different locations for work. 

Many US companies are also offering their employees a variety of other remote work benefits, such as: 

  • Stipend for home office equipment: Employees may be given a stipend to help them purchase equipment for their home office, such as a computer, desk, and chair. 
  • Flexible work hours: Employees may be allowed to set their own hours and work at their own pace. 
  • Unlimited vacation: Employees may be given unlimited vacation days if they get their work done. 
  • Mental health benefits: Employees may be offered mental health benefits, such as access to counseling or a wellness hotline. 

The popularity of remote work has increased significantly in recent years, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many companies have realized that remote work can be a productive and efficient way to work. In fact, a recent study by Owl Labs found that 97% of remote workers believe they are just as productive or more productive than when they worked in an office. 

As a result, many US companies are now offering their employees remote work policies that are more flexible and generous than ever before. This is a positive trend for both employees and employers. Employees benefit from having more flexibility and autonomy, while employers benefit from having a more productive and engaged workforce. 


About EDA, Inc.  

EDA, Inc., a world-class human capital tech and services firm that is committed to equipping leaders to create compelling, high-performance cultures that last through cutting edge technology, EDACulture Suite™ that makes culture visible in real-time and through executive development products, services, and research. 

EDA’s Services include: 

  • C-Suite & Executive Coaching, 
  • Custom Executive Development, 
  • Succession Planning, 
  • Assessment & Selection Services, and 
  • High-Potential Development. 

 EDA’s Products Include: 

  • Leadership Books 
  • Culture 20/20®, a culture survey designed with CEO input to capture culture in the 12 core categories that CEOs say they want their fingertips on. 
  • Leadership Effectiveness Survey® Series, multiple 360-degree degree surveys designed to capture the perceptions of your leaders in the most needed core competencies. 
  • T.E.A.M Effectiveness Survey. An assessment designed to capture a team’s strengths and weaknesses. 
  • Return-on-Investment Assessment, a survey designed to capture the perceptions of a few close colleagues on a few key competencies that the leader is working to learn. This assessment measures progress over time. 

EDA’s Research Includes: 

  • Trends in Executive Development 

It is our pleasure and passion to help organizational leaders create conducive workforce environments so that they can attract, retain, and develop top talent and advance their mission, achieve their vision, and execute their strategy. 


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