HR lessons from Google

Tech giants often top lists of the most recommended places to work.

But what is the secret to their success?

If we look at tech juggernaut Google, we can see they have placed a great emphasis on the following:

Recruitment

Google uses structured interviewing to assess candidates applying for the same job. This means they ask the same interview questions and mark responses using the same scale.

They also use hiring committees to lessen the chance of individual bias during the hiring process.

Management

They understand the importance of the role of managers. There is a clear focus on offering employee feedback, pinpointing opportunities for growth and cultivating skill development.

Goal setting

Google often uses ‘Objectives and Key Results’, which lays down ambitious goals and monitors employees’ progress.

Employee perks

They have also embraced the idea that it is not all about pay, but about the whole package. Some of the perks and benefits on offer to Google employees include generous parental leave policies, retirement saving plans, death benefits, on-site wellness and healthcare services and diverse opportunities for personal and professional development.

Gathering data

Google maintains that ‘all people decisions should be informed by data and analytics’. For example, they conduct surveys as a way to inform their decisions and guide any organisational action.

All of these components make employees feel happy, productive and engaged, which is why they are providing such positive reviews and recommending Google as a great place to work.

But not even Google is perfect

In the male-dominated tech industry, cases of sexual harassment, gender discrimination and pay inequality have been widely reported. Google has become the latest in a series of companies that have faced backlash for some of their HR practices.

This summer, a memo by a male engineer went viral, causing widespread debate and comment. In the memo, the employee had stated that ‘the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes… these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership.’ This and other comments in this vein did not go down well with management and he was fired.

Google are also facing an investigation from the US Department of Labor due to allegations of gender pay discrimination.

What to take away…

There are great lessons to be learnt from tech giants, but as we can see, even big companies with extensive resources at their disposal get it wrong sometimes. Nobody wants to hit the headlines for negative reasons, therefore it is highly advisable to get expert advice to ensure that you are getting your HR and Employment Law duties spot on. With guidance and support from our Employment Law Advisers, you know that you are not only meeting legal requirements and meeting best practice, but are doing what is in the best interests of your business.

Contact Ellis Whittam to find out more about the wide array of services that we can offer your business.

Director of Legal Services

James Tamm

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