What would happen in your company if tomorrow the Human Resource Department was replaced with a People Operations Department? One answer: leadership might be taking the first step in transforming the culture by changing the labels and the rules by which it hires and engages its employees. It might be taking on some of the best people practices that Google has innovated and field tested within in its own company.
Laszlo Bock, former SVP of People Operations, takes you on a journey of failures, successes, and celebrations within Google, as leadership tried to attract the best talent and ensure all its employees succeeded. The results? Hundreds of accolades including #1 Best Company to Work for in the United States and in 16 other countries. If you lead a business or any organization, you’ll want to study and learn from Google who delivers the latest research blending human psychology with behavioral economics.
Bock (2015) shares the people strategies and tactics that leadership can use to lead their employees and teams to higher engagement, productivity, satisfaction, and reward. Google’s stated mission is to organize the world’s information, and in this case, they decide to design, collect, organize, and interpret data using its own 55,000 employees spread over more than 70 countries. Several of the more well-known business conclusions Google was able to prove:
- You can learn from both your best as well as your worst employees,
- You should only hire people who are smarter than you in some way, no matter how long it takes to find them,
- You shouldn’t rely on your gut but use data to predict (Some may consider this one controversial).
The three Google lessons that are not mainstream business thinking but may make a difference in how well your company performs include:
- Taking away managers’ power over their employees: Hiring, firing, promotions, and salary actions should be done by a committee using transparent data with managers only held responsible for coaching their direct reports to succeed in their work.
- Paying unfairly because it’s the fair thing to do: Employee performance typically does not follow a bell curve, but a power curve. Your best employees should be rewarded multiples over your average producing employees.
- Giving your employees more freedom than you’re comfortable with: Trust your employees more.
You might be saying, “These concepts would never be put into practice in my company.” That may or may not be true, but the challenge for all leadership is to be thoughtful enough to make the hard decisions that can champion change and spur their employees to collectively produce at the next level. You’ve likely heard the old saying that idiocrasy is doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result. How does your organization need to change in how it leads people to get better results?
Is now the time to learn from actual field results and try to see how these concepts can work in your organization? I encourage every employee, supervisor, manager, and leader to pick up this book and find one or two concepts, rooted in research, that can be applied in life and in business to engage others more. It’s easier and cheaper to learn from the successes of others who have paved the way.
Bock, L. (2015). Work Rules: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You live and Lead. New York, NY: Twelve Books.
About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in leadership, business development, and sales. She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops. She has a passion to help organizations engage all their colleagues. You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com.