Layered glass reflecting blue light

Microsoft

Reimagining onboarding for 27k employees

We redesigned NEO to give new employees a shared foundation to make a meaningful impact and thrive at Microsoft.

Overview

For decades, Microsoft’s New Employee Orientation (NEO) has been an exciting in-person event, complete with live presenters and tables full of eager new colleagues. However, with the global shift to remote work, the Microsoft First Year Learning team sought to reinvent NEO as a virtual event. They trusted Indigo Slate to help shape NEO into a new brand with exciting learning content and an entertaining series of world-class training events, all fully remote.

Client name

Microsoft

Discipline

culture, brand

Glass form moving

Approach

After a six-month deep dive into Microsoft’s mission, brand, culture, and mindset, Indigo Slate helped the First Year Learning team define the event, including its themes and some of the actual learning content. Primarily, however, we were tasked with developing and implementing NEO’s new visual identity. We drove a managed service of committed creatives, strategists, and learning professionals alongside our production teams to position learning as entertainment for a global audience of new Microsoft employees. From session design to template construction, we created the look and feel for the event. We also concepted and produced multiple video assets, including the opening, closing, and welcome from Satya Nadella and global employees.

Teams call with people using NEO creative backgrounds

Solution

A key goal of this exploration was to develop an exciting design system that shares a point of view around the human experience of growth and learning while resonating emotionally with individuals across all geographies. To meet this challenge, we crafted a design system around the idea of the inner light—the spark and energy within each person in the organization. By using this building block in a simple and elegant way, the theme of each session comes to life in abstract constructions or metaphors that give the visual identity cohesion and structure while accommodating individual interpretation by NEO attendees.

When it all came together, we had developed a digital event in four parts: Taking care of you, Working together in a thriving culture, Empowering the world together, and A platform for your purpose.

Image of fluid circles of glass with reflections of blue light
Glass shapes reflecting blue and rainbow light

Session 1

Taking care of you


The welcome session introduces the mission—focusing on a growth mindset and how Microsoft empowers employees to take care of themselves and those they love.

Fluid glass shape reflecting red and orange light

Session 2

Working together in a thriving culture


The second session dives into the culture, focusing on real-world examples, Microsoft's commitment to diversity and inclusion, and how they create an impact together.

Glass shaped like a rose reflecting pink light

Session 3

Empowering the world together


The third session explores Microsoft’s worldview, from business strategy and organizational structure to customer solution areas and societal impact.

Swirling glass shapes reflecting green light

Session 4

A platform for your purpose


The final session celebrates how far employees have come while focusing on continued success and how to make Microsoft work for them.

Creative expressions of NEO visual identity

Results

Through hundreds of still and motion experiments, we discovered NEO’s visual identity. Reinventing NEO as a singular virtual event, we’ve aligned all materials under one distinctive graphical look and feel—a modern expression of fluidity and technology that evokes a sense of wonder in the moment and a curiosity for the future. Illumination adds vibrancy and meaning, representing the learner and their journey of growth. Motion and atmosphere offer dimension and a sense that the learner’s world is expanding to something greater. The layers themselves are warm and human, joining to demonstrate how we come together to achieve unthinkable wonders—allowing each of us to truly make an impact.

A spiral of glass shapes reflecting blue light
Fluid glass forms reflecting blue and rainbow light on a dark background
Layers of fluid glass forms reflecting orange and rainbow light
Image of fluid glass forms reflecting pink, orange, and yellow light
Fluid glass shapes forming an abstract flower, reflecting yellow and orange light
Glass shapes twisting together to form an abstract flower with a long stem, reflecting green light

Credits

Executive Creative Director

Michael Bartley

Group Creative Director

Chris Elliott

Creative Director

Dan Vanderhei

Mid-Level Designer

Faith Hua

Designer

Brennan Commons

3D Artist

Brandon McFarland

Senior Account Director

Liz Fendell

Customer Success Manager

Andy Farnum

Project Manager

Makini Peterkin

Principal Technical Writer and Editor

Ben Sampson

Technical Writer and Editor

Jessica DiBartolo

Quality Assurance Specialist

Camille Seguette

Manager of Quality Assurance

Nicole Fourman

See more work

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