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BU260 – Leading and Managing Holistically ________________________________ CASE ANALYSIS Google’s Success Builds from Its Progressive Approach to Human Resource Management Google, which is...

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BU260 – Leading and Managing Holistically



Google’s Success Builds from Its Progressive Approach to Human Resource Management

Google, which is owned by Alphabet Inc., was rated as the number one place to work by
seven times between 2006 and 2016. The company employs over 61,000 people in over 70 offices in more than 40 countries, and it generated $75 billion in revenue in 2015, with $23 billion in operating profit. Google’s success is partly a function of its progressive approach to human resource management.
People Operations,
or POPS, is the name of Google’s HR department. The department is headed by Laszlo Bock, and it relies on people analytics to determine many of its HR programs, policies, and procedures. Prasad Setty, the leader of the POPS “people analytics group” said that “what we try to do is bring the same level of rigor to people decisions that we do to engineering decisions. Our mission is to have all people decisions be informed by data.” Consider how POPS responded to a high turnover rate among women.

Bock sent his team to study the causes of female turnover. The research revealed that the problem pertained to new mothers, not women in general. Women having babies were quitting at twice Google’s average rate of turnover. One potential reason for this was the company’s maternity leave policy, which allowed 12 weeks of paid time off. Google decided to see what would happen if it changed this policy. New mothers were given five months off at full pay, and they can use it in any way they wish. The change was a success. The quit rate for new mothers dropped 50% and equaled the average for the remainder of the company. Results from Googlegeist—the company’s annual employee survey—further showed that employees’ happiness had increased as well.

Let’s consider some of the other human resources practices used by Google.


Historically, Google’s interview process was known for being one of the most difficult in the high-technology industry. Candidates frequently were asked “notoriously impossible brainteaser interview questions.” Examples are “Model raindrops falling on a sidewalk (sidewalk is 1 meter and raindrops are 1 cm). How could we know when the sidewalk is completely wet?” and “If ads were removed from YouTube, how would you monetize it?”

POPS did research on the hiring process partly because it was taking too long to hire people. The average time to hire was three or more months in 2005, with some people waiting six months to receive an offer. The average is now down to about five to six weeks, and clear hires are selected within three weeks. Two of the big changes in the hiring process pertained to the number of interviews applicants went through and the structure of interviews. In the past, recruits met with 12 or more people. Research by POPS demonstrated that there were diminishing returns after four interviews, which is the current standard. The structure of the selection process also was revised to match what is known from HR research. Laszlo Bock described the selection process as “combining behavioral and situational structured interviews with assessments of cognitive ability, conscientiousness, and leadership. To help interviewers, we’ve developed an internal tool called qDroid, where an interviewer picks the job they are screening for, checks the attributes they want to test, and is emailed an interview guide with questions designed to predict performance for that job. This makes it easy for interviewers to find and ask great interview questions.”


Google does not follow tradition when it comes to training. For one, about 55% of the company’s official training classes are taught by Googlers. These classes are called “Googler to Googler.” The company believes that employees learn more when they are taught by fellow employees. One manager noted that “telling your employees that you want them to learn is different than asking them to promote that culture themselves. Giving employees teaching roles … makes learning part of the way employees work together rather than something HR is making them do.” The company does not rely on traditional classroom-style teaching. It replaces this with approaches that are suited for the needs of Google employees. One example is the weekly program called “Product Spotlight.” It is a dial-in conference call that is run like a talk show. “A moderator interviews a product manager about a particular new feature, as sales agents across the country, and around the world, listen in. Sometimes there are also slides or video to follow along with online, and the agents get to ask questions via chat.”

Google also offers quarterly classes that dig deeper into various topics. One example is Sales Pro, “which takes a deep dive into one particular strategic issue, like display advertising or the mobile business. The soup-to-nuts program takes about six hours, but rather than delivering it all in one fell swoop, or even through a series of hour-long, do-it-yourself modules, Google breaks the information into bite-sized chunks lasting no more than seven minutes each.”


This enables employees to download the modules when and where they want. To make training stick, the company follows classes with online games to help employees master this knowledge. “Leaderboards foster friendly competition. And quizzes following each training make sure the agents are absorbing the new information.”

Performance Management

The performance management process begins with setting objectives and key results, known as OKRs. OKRs consist of a goal, which is established by the employee, and an associated set of key results that guide the employee in achieving the goal. Managers rate an employee’s performance on a five-point scale anchored from “needs improvement” to “superb.”

Employees and their managers also select a group of peers to conduct semi-annual evaluations. Peers are asked to “list one thing the person they’re reviewing should do more of and one thing the employee could do differently to have a greater impact on the company.” Once this feedback is received, groups of managers come together to review the peer ratings. The goal of these meetings is to reduce rater bias and provide more accurate evaluations.

The final stage of the cycle entails making pay decisions. These decisions are made about a month after the annual performance reviews are conducted. Employees, of course, receive feedback at every stage of the process.

Please read and follow the Grading Rubrics posted in Blackboard to write the APA formatted paper. Discuss the following:


What is it about Google’s human resource practices and procedures that make it an attractive company to work for? Explain.


To what extent are Google’s hiring procedures consistent with recommendations proposed in this chapter? Discuss your logic.


How would you describe Google’s approach toward training its employees?


To what extent does Google follow the performance management process depicted in Figure 1 below?


Do you see any downside to the performance management approach used at Google? Explain your rationale.


What is your key takeaway from this case?

Figure 1: Performance Management

A figure illustrates the four steps of performance management

Answered 3 days After May 01, 2024


Dilpreet answered on May 05 2024
6 Votes
Leading and Managing Holistically        2
Table of Contents
Human Resource Practices at Google    3
Google’s Hiring Procedures    3
Google’s Approach Towards Training its Employees    4
Performance Management System at Google    5
Downside of Google’s Performance Management System    6
Key Take Aways from the Case    7
References    8
Human Resource Practices at Google
    Google is well known for its procedures and practices and therefore has maintained a reputation for an attractive company to work for. Some of the most attractive practices include:
Employee-Centric Culture: The culture at Google prioritizes the well-being of its employees leading to employee engagement and satisfaction. The inclusive and open culture at Google creates a sense of belongingness among the employees.
Attractive Compensation and Benefits: Google provide its employees with not only attractive salary packages but also provides other financial rewards such as bonuses and stock options. Also, it provides its employees with healthcare coverage plans, retirement plans, and paid parental leaves (Gerhart, 2023).
Work-Life Balance: Google offers its employees with flexile work a
angements promoting a healthy work-life balance. The employees have access to luxurious on-site amenities, which makes Google an attractive place to work for. It also provides options of remote work and allows its employees to work in flexible hours.
Opportunities for Career Growth and Development: Google has been investing heavily to upskill its employees through several training and development programs. It includes learning resources like online courses, workshops, and conferences. This helps employees to align their personal goals of the employees with the overall growth of the organisation.
Google’s Hiring Procedures
    The cu
ent hiring procedure of Google takes approximately 5-6 weeks, which was previously near about three months in the year 2005. The hiring procedure of Google has become consistent with the provided recommendations as it has started focusing on the screening of online applications along with an application form, which the candidates need to fill about their skills, qualification, and previous work experience. Resume screening further helps to Fastrack the process of hiring as it is easy to identify the candidates, who meet the basic qualifications for the job role. For accessing the technical qualifications of the candidate and the technical requirements Google has developed an internal tool called qDroid. This tool assists the interviewer to pick a job they are screening for, look out for the attributes they want to test, and email an interview guide with questions designed to predict performance for that job. This facilitates the process of hiring and saves time. The on-site interviews at Google include several rounds with the hiring managers as well as the technical experts. Candidates are also...

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