Management of human resources has become one of the most important business functions for any company in today's dynamic business environment. With the high level of competition and a multitude of options available to the employees, attrition rates have grown tremendously. Companies are struggling to attract and retain the best talent. Companies have started coming up with many innovative strategies to attract the best talent and keep them happy at the workplace. Google is one such company that has implemented non-conventional HR strategies and believes in providing maximum value to its employees.
This report talks about the HR strategies that Google has implemented and what their ramifications have been. Also the reasons behind implementation of these strategies and the how they would help the company achieve its long term goals. This report also studies the unique working environment prevalent at Google and what keeps the employees motivated and committed to innovation. Also the very important role of hiring and retaining the best talent available in the market, performed by the HR machinery has also been discussed in this report.
Google has a highly energetic and dynamic working environment. The employees, known as "Googlers" in popular jargon know how to work hard and at the same time have fun at the work place. The entire campus in Mountain view, CA exudes a lot of creative energy and dynamism. The office has a relaxed environment of a college campus with no compulsory dress code or daily formal meetings of any kind. The campus has the facilities for the employees to play games like beach volleyball, foosball, table tennis and many others. The employees are instilled with the belief that they are superior to the competition not just in terms of the money they earn but also in terms of their lifestyle and culture. They are taught to believe in values of teamwork and satisfaction through creative achievements. As a result of this culture, the employees also feel proud to be a part of the Google brand. Google has comprehensive HR policies that help employees grow both personally as well as professionally. People of many communities and ethnicities work in Google, who are all made to feel part of one big Google family. Also the employees have a firm belief that they are working for the best company in the world and the work they are doing be it either organizing information or creating advertisements is for the betterment of the society. The motto of the company is "Don't be Evil" and encourages the employees to strictly adhere to the ethical norms of the company.
Google HR Policies: Critical and Theoretical Analysis
Success of Google: Employee Motivation Theory Perspective
Google encourages its employees to work on 70-20-10 rule where in the employees have to devote 70 % of their time to core search and advertising work, 20% on a project of their choice and 10 % on working on far-out ideas. The product innovations of Google Talk and Gmail have been a result of this kind of initiative. The business benefits of the 20 % off time are very limited as far as their core search and advertising businesses are concerned. However the HR department and the executives still continue to encourage the employees to go for these efforts to remain motivated and committed to innovation and novelty.
The compensation policy of Google is highly rewarding with the employees getting salaries, bonuses and stock awards at regular time intervals. Google also encourages and rewards outstanding performance achievements amongst the employees. The Google premise has a big collegiate environment with many sporting facilities and other benefits that the employees can avail. The whole idea behind creating such an environment is that the employees feel very comfortable and easy working in the office and can be as creative as possible. In order for the employees to maintain work life balance, Google offers the employees flexible working hour options, work from home facility, telecommuting and a generous vacation policy. This combined with the TGIIF sessions that are held every Friday afternoon which is a get together within the company itself. The company has a strong code of conduct and encourages its employees to report any violation of policies and feel safe doing the same.
The HR policies are all aimed at improving employee productivity. The offices are designed in such a way so as to provide color, lighting and a shared room to the employees. The employees are seated very close to each other and made to share offices, thus making knowledge sharing an essential part of the everyday culture at Google. On an average, each employee generates more than 1 million in revenue each year. This gives leverage to the Google employees and manager to try out new things, make mistakes and learn from their failures, which is again a great motivating factor for the employees to try out new stuff. So as a result any employee in the company has a chance to create a new product or a feature.
Hiring & Job Design Practices: The Organizational Perspective
Google is considered by many employees to be the best place to work. The core strength of the company is its employees. All the benefits provided by the company help it in recruiting the top employees who are willing to spend their entire day at the work place itself. The entire HR policy of Google is based around hiring the best talent; make them work hard and long and manage to keep them at Google for a long time. Google also carries out various people programs in order to support the growing expansion of the Google workforce across different countries in the world. These programs are run to explain the many virtues of Google as an employer and also to deal with the cultural diversities of the workforce across the nations.
Google has an innovative hiring strategy and hiring the right people is one of the core pillars of the HR policy of the company. The company has a centralized hiring team, comprising of specialists whose main endeavor is to identify the best talent in the market and retain them. The branding team of Google also plays a very important role in attracting the best of the professionals to work for Google.
The candidates have to go through a tough screening process. Google uses an innovative recruiting tool that relies on algorithms to identify the potential talent rather than traditional ways of hiring like those based on academic grades, SAT scores, degree from well-known colleges, prior industry experience, interviews and subjective test results. This gives Google the power to identify and select the candidates on a more data driven approach. The whole idea behind this screening procedure is to evaluate the candidates on their innovative and dynamic skill and to check their ability to work in a flat organizational structure with small teams as present in Google, which is also referred to as "Googleyness".
This recruiting team is also well funded with 1 recruiter being provided for every 14 employees, which again makes it the best funded recruiting functions amongst the product based organizations in the country. Google has HR Business partners who perform the task of developing and implementing innovative programs and technology in place to identify and resolve end user issues across the company anywhere in the world. They collect and maintain important user data collected over an employee's life cycle which is then used to find out important traits and trends of employee behaviors and identify the potentials problems. Google has quarterly hand holding sessions with the senior executives to celebrate the achievement of the previous quarter and set the agenda for the next quarter. However for those who are not comfortable of speaking up in a public forum, the company conducts regular surveys which are kept anonymous to understand the trends and identify the problem areas if there are any. Google's Learning and Leadership Development (LLD) team innovative learning programs to identify and groom the company's existing talent. The managers perform the task of being life coaches and advise the young employees on a lot of aspects apart from work also.
Google HR Policies: Practical Implications
Employee Motivation Factors
Google has got huge financial strength at its disposal. It spends a lot of money on providing its employees with a lot of benefits which are not comparable to any other company in the world. This makes it a highly motivating work place for any employee. Google has a very flat organizational structure where in the employees can go and talk to the executives and other team members and share their ideas and thoughts. Google has pushed very hard to remove the bureaucratic boundaries that normally exist in such a big company. This is also explains the fact as to why there is no dress code of the company and also no formal meeting structure that the employees need to follow. The young work force that the company has also proliferates such an environment. This is also one of the major reasons why so many talented young people want to work with Google. Google has been successful in building a brand over the years that has made it the most lucrative company to work, for the employees, not only in terms of compensation but also in terms of attaining one's creative pursuits. It has been constantly cited as one of the best companies to work for in the world in many surveys over a period of time. So for any other company to emulate the same feat would be a huge task both in terms of financial capability and also in terms of brand value.
Hiring & Job Design Practices
The hiring process that Google follows is also very innovative and non-conventional. In a normal conventional company the process would involve interviews, academic background check, work experience in the industry and so on, but not in Google. Google has come up with a very innovative hiring procedure based on algorithms making the entire process of hiring very scientific and data driven. However there are criticisms for this kind of process also as it goes on for months and is very inconvenient for the applicants, but it has been very fruitful to Google from a business perspective as it has been able to hire the best of the talent from the industry. Such a long hiring cycle again might not be feasible for any other company in today's day and time. Also the applicants are ready to wait for months despite the inconvenience because working with Google is such a lucrative proposition in itself. However it's difficult to imagine that the applicants would be ready to go through such a long and a tedious hiring cycle for any other company. Moreover it is not only the HR department that is involved in the hiring process in the case of Google; it's the entire company that gets involved as the application first needs to be approved by the team that has the opening. So it's the entire machinery of the company that is involved in the hiring process. Google can do this because of its flat organizational structure. Other companies however would have to remove the bureaucracy in their system and create small team structures in order to implement something on similar lines.
Google is one of those companies that puts its employees at the core of their strategy and looks at the long term benefits that they would bring to the shareholders and their peers. In fact, in 2008 when Google began cutting its employee perks, its employee productivity and stock prices both fell. This shows a direct correlation between gaining and retaining outstanding employees with innovative ideas and the overall company growth. The company's success has been based on the fact that they have been innovative, flexible and dynamic in their functions. Managing growth by keeping the same collegiate environment in the future will be essential to company's success. As Google grows in shape and size, the challenge for the company will be to maintain the same level creative activism and sense of empowerment amongst its employees. Google is having problems finding the right talent in its other offices worldwide especially in its South Asia operations. The employees must be encouraged to work in a more entrepreneurial manner and they must be provided adequate resources and finances for the same. Google is one of the few companies where in the employees know that they will be paid for their innovative efforts irrespective of the fact whether the product that they are working on, may or may not come out right. This is a highly motivational factor for the employees to remain committed to innovation. This is also an example how a HR strategy of a company is directly linked to its business strategy.