We all know Google is different. No, we’re not only talking about the unicorn quality of its meteoric ascent to becoming one of the most beloved and highly valued companies in the world. And we don’t even talk about the perks: free health insurance, free food, yes, free sushi. The list goes on and on. Google is also different because they do not have a human resources department. It is called “people operations.” In ,”Work Rules! That Will Transform How You Live and Lead,” Laszlo Bock, former SVP of that department describes how human resources and overall talent management are run at Google. It works: Google has been named “Best Company to Work For” numerous times and it is one of the most admired workplaces on the globe. What makes them so? Is it the money and the perks? Definitely not.
“All it takes is a belief that people are fundamentally good—and enough courage to treat your people like owners instead of machines. Machines do their jobs; owners do whatever is needed to make their companies and teams successful. People spend.”
We spend more time working than doing anything else in our lives. But for most of the four billion of us with jobs, work is just a means to an end. Or worse, it’s a downright miserable experience. And, as we know, it doesn’t have to – or shouldn’t – be this way. Laszlo Bock joined Google in 2006 and he began to notice places that took a better approach. There are a few companies like Wegmans and Costco that put their people first. He realized it’s possible to build a great business while also treating people really, really well. That’s why he decided to do things differently.
The founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, started Google with a strong vision of the kind of company they wanted to create based on one belief: People are fundamentally good. As a former head of people operations, Laszlo Bock’s job was to find and grow Googlers, and keep them happy. The company’s philosophy turned out to be successful.
There are fourteen chapters in the book and ten steps that can potentially transform your credit union. Here are some of our highlights:
- Culture: No, it’s not about beanbags or free food. Google’s culture has three defining aspects: finding a compelling mission, being transparent and giving each employee a voice.
- Give work meaning: If you want to attract the most talented people on the planet, you need to craft a goal that inspires them.
- Trust your people: Be transparent. Encourage people to think and act like owners. You’ll be surprised what people can do when you simply trust them to do the right thing.
- Hire people who are better than you: To find the best people you have to be willing to wait. A bad hire can be toxic. Set the bar high, never compromise on quality, and find someone who is better than in you some meaningful way. You’ll end up with a much stronger team.
- Don’t confuse development with managing performance: Separate conversations about rewards from conversations about development. Combining the two kills learning.
- Focus on the worst and best: Don’t surprise people. Tell them if they’re low performers and help them learn or find new roles – people need to know how they’re doing in order to grow. Put your best people under a microscope to find out – and replicate – what makes them stand out.
- Be frugal and generous: The most meaningful things you can do for your employees are free, or close to it. Save your biggest checks for when they need it most.
- Pay unfairly: Your best people are worth far, far more than your average people. Make sure they feel it. Otherwise you’re just giving them a reason to quit.
- Manage the rising expectations: Human beings are complicated, thorny, and messy. You’re never going to please everyone, but don’t let that prevent you from trying new things. Tell people around you that you’re going to be experimenting to balance expectations.
- Enjoy! Then go back to the beginning and start again: Don’t rush to do everything at once. Building a great culture and environment requires constant learning, experimentation, and renewal. It’s worth it.
Laszlo Bock will be one of the keynote speakers and contributors at THINK 17. We’re looking forward to learning more from this leader and role model.