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It was the year 1980, when the Toyota Motor Corporation was the archetype of an Industrial Company focused on product quality parallel to refinement of Corporate Culture.
Today, Google is the Company that is reinventing methods of management, the way people, organizations are controlled and how human resources are managed.
Google can be seen as a new archetype because its management has made various innovations in human resources and other operations. Google's management style is so successful that companies like Amazon.com have adopted the same.
Following the introduction, Part I analysis the model built by Google's leaders for hiring and training the workforce.
Part II discusses the management methods that are far removed from best practices thought at the top business schools(Performance Appraisal & Employee Participation)
An Unique Engine
The Best of Best
There are a very few companies, which have expressed the strongly desire to hire only the best people.
"Google seeks to hire only the best", although over a bit of period Google has to relax it hiring policies. This elitism is not only for Google, but hold true for Microsoft, Apple.
For eg. in 1993, Bill Gates made the following remarks
"The key for us, number one, has always been hiring very smart people. You've got to be very elitist in picking the people who deserve to write software. Ninety-five percent of the people shouldn't write complex software. You've got to give great tools to those small teams. So, pick good people, use small teams, give them excellent tools, vast compilation, debugging, lots of machines, profiling technology, so that they are very productive in terms of what they are doing. Make it very clear what they can do to change the spec. Make them feel like they are very much in control of it."
Why the Best of Best?
The best of best is to be considered within the conduct of IT industry and its fast growing companies.
On inquiring the HR Intern about one of the reason of getting Hired, the answer slashes immediately, "It's clear, one has to be better than at least one of the employees at Google" and further inquiring about Why the Organization hires the Best of Best, "Promotions come many times during the period following the ignition of employment, Hiring over qualified is best under such situations, which ultimately means hiring the BEST"
This is not the only motive for choosing Best of Best. The pupils from Top-Schools are not only more intelligent & trained than average but are also motivated and impassioned.
Such candidates prefer learning to paid employment and they value quality of their work over personal interests.
Recruiters at Google look for new hires who have confidence in math & trust rational thought over intuition and value factual analysis over improvisation.
How do recruitments take place?
During the Dot Com bubble of 2000, when the majority of Major Organizations in the World were laying-off the employees, Google was the one to Recruit employees, which enabled them to hire extremely Skilled, Qualified employees at Low Cost.
From then, the Organization has expanded manifold, from just 1063 employees to 9000 and above at present.
Google's recruitment efforts ramp up aggressively rather than settling for conventional recruiting methods (resume analysis, psychometric test, interview)
Google chooses a unique path. Every 1 in 14 Google's employee is working in recruitment. Google's HRD consists of temporary staffers and are called in when need arises.
Google follows a simple rule, "Hire only A people, & they will hire A people, if you hire B people they will hire C or D people" and Google sticks to the former.
Through a certain structure, Google's recruitment process looks similar to those of other companies.
Those applying for Google take the GOOGLE Labs APTITUDE Test, which distinguishes not only by its difficulty but humor also.
After the tests are over, interviews follow, which is also not casual. At other companies recruiters use small number of tools like Special Hiring Agents, Print Ads, Head hunters etc.
Google uses some of the above tools but depends upon its academic culture.
"Summer of Code" a program which offers student developers stipends to write code for various open source projects, which allow recruiters to indentify candidates & Google also sponsors contests that attract the most brilliant minds in field.
Even at large companies, finding such specialization in field of human resource is rare.
The result is that each recruiter sees only a narrow sector of candidates, so he or she can evaluate them closely to select those who will be asked to appear for tests and then called for interview.
During this process Google carries multiple and lengthy interviews as many as EIGHT interviews per potential hire, which only judges the candidate's capabilities for solving their daily complex problems.
Google's recruitment procedure resembles those of other major companies but are actually opposite of traditional ones.
The only short coming is its very-very long procedure and in most companies Candidate won't wait for several months for receiving answers, which depicts the magnetic pull of Google.
The HR policies at Google are like Swiss Army Knife, they are simple, can be taken and applied everywhere (mostly)
If one is need of a certain tool, the Doodads can be pulled out and get the work done.
One of the tool is Training and Development at Google, i.e. Instructional System Design, which guarantees the learning of training program to Google's real Organizational need.
The "Keep the Teams Small" helps the management to precisely focus on the need of training.
Development at Google takes place continuously as the high skilled engineers are present with each team.
The procedures which are quite complex in Google, are made simpler by the teams mates when assistance is seek-ed from the High Skilled Engineer and unknowingly the employee gets trained into a special skill.
Finally Training and Development at Google is effective because of the small teams, the communication takes place at pace and completion among teams helps employees to continuously polish their skills and on the parallel acquire new ones, which gets depicted at Google Labs.
An Innovation through Employees
Towards High Road
Recruiting best of best is good but making them work together is much better.
Google takes into account the very basic Internal & External motivation concepts. Google relies on Internal motivation much more than External motivation. For eg. Google looks in the desire to produce quality soft wares, which depends on the cooperation and participation of thousands of potential employees who donate their time to develop and improve softwares.
Thus for making employees participate in management, Google's approach was to reinvent an approach that 3M company had adopted.
3M's 15 percent policy encourages its researches to devote 15 percent of their time to projects of their own.
Google's policy splits the work hours of its employees in Two parts: 80 percent of their time is dedicated to assigned projects and remaining 20 percent to personal research which ultimately leads to employee participation in management.
The 20 percent policy is boom for employee who never had a moment to spare at previous jobs and for Google it helped to reduce turnover among employees to negligible.
This policy is one of the main stays of the Google innovation. When an employee visions a new product Managers don't say, "Its not a priority, so don't waste your time on it"
20 percent policy enhances productivity and it has also lead to emergence of new Google products like Google Suggests, Adsense for Content, Orkut, Google Chrome and many others.
This unusual HR policy, requires new administrative practices. At Google employees rather teams are asked to report in only 5 sentences how they contributed to Google and share their projects with Co-workers and if it is promising, it is adopted as an official Company Financed project.
The environment Google provides, gives employees with unusual work habits the means to regain their equilibrium after working long hours and thus leads Google "TOWARDS HIGH ROAD"
The Adjacent Cubicle
A team with a project that is an outgrowth of 20 percent policy presents the project for co-workers from other departments to review.
Traditionally the reviews and appraisals were made by Top Executives or Immediate heads. But at Google, "The Adjacent Cubicle" or the Coworkers/Peers are termed as best judges and thus review takes place within a team.
This team meets frequently to review, monitor and finally undergo appraisals (Occurs mostly on every Friday)
At Google employees submit their work to their peers, high-level engineers whose opinions count and getting their appraisal is important to everyone.
The power of Adjacent Cubicle
The above method focuses communication directly and entirely on the topic at hand. The appraisals are done not on seniority but on brain-power and qualifications.
The Geeks at Google are not rewarded by giving them managerial titles, though monetary reward are important but non-monetary rewards are also important. Peer review, Appraisals and Respect count for adept lot.
The performance appraisal by peers has modified management practices and organization hierarchy simplifies as the work gets divided.
But it is not the perfect model, it consumes a lot of time and political aspect also plays its role.
Then again every company has its corporate culture and like any company Google is not immune to these potential problems.
Google represents the invention of a new management model-and it has to be called revolutionary. Analysis reveals some of the features that have distinguished other great industrial revolutions: the discovery of a mass market, the invention of products, the development of new techniques for marketing and staff management.
Like every great management revolution, this one draws its legitimacy from the way it adapted to an economic, social, and cultural environment very different from that of companies of the past and present.
Google's repeated successes have created genuine enigmas for anyone interested in management strategy. To summarize just a few:
â€¢ Google has never spent a cent on advertising.
â€¢ The public is welcome to criticize the company.
â€¢ Google has no qualms about breaking every managerial rule in the book, refusing to observe even the most elementary marketing practices.
â€¢ For a long time, Google paid developers less than the competition yet the company has attracted the best employees and kept them longer.
To manage innovation, human resources, products, and customer relations, Google's leaders looked at the problems all companies encounter from a new angle. They were able to define and simultaneously solve the problems of division of labor and specialization with distinguished results. They have managed to build a rich, complex model that serves not only as an example to emulate but also as a subject of study for anyone interested in corporate management.