Managers Can Now Access Google’s HR Practices

Google has a reputation for having immaculately brilliant human resource strategies. The search giant has made headlines over the years for bold policies on matters such as parental leave and environmentally-friendly commuter initiatives for its staff. Even with Senior VP, Laszlo Bock admitting last year that “Google is not where we want to be when it comes to diversity,” its employer brand retains its tip-top reputation.

Well, now you can decide if Google really does deserve the hype. In another of its trademark bold moves, the search giant launched re:Work on 29 October 2015, a website that discloses a number of the company’s HR practices, research and ideas. With a significant portion of re:Work dedicated to managerial matters, we have put together some of Google’s most noteworthy revelations.

Google got rid of its managers

Maybe you remember this. In 2002 Larry Page and Sergey Brin embraced a hierarchical structure that had, well, no hierarchy! As an experiment, Google’s employees were tasked with managing themselves, while managers lost their authority for a month. Ultimately, the experiment showed that innovation is not always best. Google quickly reinstated its managerial tier, a sensible move in light of the company’s unfathomable success.

Celebrate great management

Successful company cultures celebrate great leadership. That’s why Google insists upon an annual Great Manager Award (GMA). Any of the tech company’s employees are empowered to nominate leaders who have inspired them over the year. Google streamlines the selection process by including nominations as part of regular Manager Feedback Surveys. Once the nominations are analyzed, Google selects 20 managers from each of the company’s divisions. The success of these leaders is then leveraged across the company as the winners star in Q&A sessions and coaching events with other managers across the company. Google believes that being a great manager isn’t just about being successful in one sphere, it’s about sharing that success with others.

Coaching is key

One of the most useful insights to come out of the GMA question-and-answer sessions was that Google’s best managers were great coaches. As such, Google encourages its managers to become familiar with a variety of coaching styles. Not all employees are wired the same, so being an excellent coach involves being a flexible coach too. In re:Work, Google has shared some of its best tips for managers who want to improve their coaching capabilities. One suggestion is for managers to “practice active listening and ask open-ended questions to facilitate the team member’s own insight (questions that start with ‘what’ and ‘how’ encourage expansive thinking).” Check out the rest of Google’s advice here.

An ongoing, growing resource

Just like Google search, Maps and, Books, re:Work is designed to be a growing, collaborative entity where other companies can share insights with teachable professionals. As the decade moves forward, it will be to the benefit of countless managers if re:Work becomes one of Google’s big wins.