Case study: Google
Google is a prime example of a great talent management strategy. The first thing that should be noted is that Google is very successful and can afford to invest large amounts of money in its talent development and retention. Also, Google is a quick moving start-up, so there may be many issues which come with having a constantly shifting workforce. Managing this workforce is especially important to Google’s success.
Alongside developed versions of traditional HR strategies, Google has worked out whats type of people its employees are, and what their wants and needs are. Then its just a case of providing these wants and needs selectively to effect productivity positively, while balancing cost.
For example Google has realised that a large proportion of its workforce are very IT centered in their interests and lifestyle and may have commonly been known as ‘geeks’. Recently, high profile ‘geeks’ such as Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg have helped change the public image of a shy and narrow-minded techno-freak to a more positive image of something to be proud of. There has been a recent fashion show called ‘geek chic’ which has been influenced by geeks choice of attire while at work; very casual and comfortable without regard to others judgements, as well as a dating service aimed at geeks and their admirers called ‘Nerds at Heart’. Google has been quick to integrate this into their talent management strategy, turning their office into a haven for geeks. This helps to attract the brightest minds in the IT business.
Googles offices are both wacky and world leading. For example slides instead of stairs, chill out aquariums and games consoles make for a more fun, interesting and ultimately motivating work experience. Policies at work are similarly radical, for example employees are allowed to spend up to 20% of their time relaxing or doing whatever they want, are allowed to bring in their dogs, and are allowed unlimited sick leave.
Facilities at the offices are also brilliant. There are gyms, gourmet restaurants, and even trampolines. All these features are designed to maximise happiness, healthiness, and interaction between people and departments. The emphasis on interaction extends into details such as timing the lunch ques so people mix more often. This frequent interaction aims to bring about a flow of information and communication throughout the office, without hierarchy.
Other perks include stocked fridges, on-site laundry, and even valet parking. This freedom makes the employees feel as though they are being treated maturely, which in turn can make them act maturely. Ironically, giving people free roam and an absence of rules can increase peoples self-accountability and result in happier, more productive and more loyal workers.
Less wacky HR practices are also at play for example the time Google spends on training and development is three times the north American average for businesses. Employees are able to choose from related skills to learn or develop, as well as being able to attend free languge lessons of their choice.
Google is also developing an algorithm for retention which aims to predict who is most likely to quit their job or in the words of Google’s head of HR Laszlo Bock: “get inside people’s heads even before they know they might leave”.
Google also has many good recruitment tactics, although they aren’t exactly needed. In 2011, Google announced it was creating 6000 new jobs, and in return received 75,000 job applications in just one week.# The way Google has designed its offices and policies has attracted the best minds in the business and is one of the most sought after employers in the world.
Google has been used here as an example because it is a leading employer in the talent market. However there are also many other companies which follow the same principle in talent management, mainly start-ups and young but successful technology and software based businesses who can afford this approach to managing talent. Dr John Sullivan calls this strategy the ‘casino approach to talent management’ because it works in a similar way to casinos, offering big perks and making sure that those who enter leave wanting to return.
-Google HQ- look like somewhere you’d want to work? Thats the idea!