People analytics-driven Google
Blog: NASSCOM Official Blog
How Google Uses People Analytics for Employee Engagement & Satisfaction?
Do you find infographics, Dashboards, charts more striking? Are you driven by the data-charged world? Do you think we can make the most of the data that is at the tip of our fingers? If yes you are right. Long gone is the era of gut feeling and now is the era of statements based on evidence- “People analytics” which is used interchangeably with talent analytics or HR analytics, makes use of statistical methods, various tools like( Power BI, Tableau, R, Python many more) and expertise (analysts) to utilize the available data to the optimum level which result in better decision making.
Are you perplexed regarding how is People analytics used in the organization? So, let’s take the example of the corporate giant of the world “GOOGLE” which has landed its “spot for the best companies to work for” in 2019 with retaining the same spot for 6 years.
Nothing is impossible for “Google”? But do you want to know how Google can retain the first position in this category? The answer is due to the use of people analytics for all the processes. As Google is known for its “innovation” it first needs to create that organizational structure and environment where people feel free to get their innovative shoes on. When Laszlo Bock was hired as SVP of people operations in 2006, focus shifted to people analytics with his belief that data could unlock ways to betterment at the workplace.
Some game-changing points about Google:-
- People decisions are the priority
- All people decisions at Google are based on data and analytics
- Google’s success is attributed to its data-driven HR function
- On average, each employee generates a profit of approx $200,000 each year
- Human resource at google is called “people operations”
- Google has transformed the status Quo subjective decision-making approach to data-based decision- making
- People analytics team directly reports to VP
Taking look at how Google has been successful in its people management practices:-
- Project oxygen
Launched back in 2008, intending to identify the common behaviours in their highest performing managers. With the help of Googler’s employee survey and feedback the project postulated following oxygen behaviour that highly correlated with manger’s effectiveness and outcomes like turnover, satisfaction, and performance:-
- PiLab – “ People & Innovation Laboratory”
Which has been set up to run experiments with employees, to solve their problem. PiLab comes out with the most effective approaches that can be adopted for managing people and sustaining the productive environment at the workplace.
- Research by Pilab postulated that cafeteria lunchtime should be 3 min to 4 min long so that employees don’t waste time rather meet new people in that break.
- Switching from short-benches at the canteen to long-benches where people who don’t know each other get close with forced chat.
- They replaced the 30 cm plates to 20cm plates, to reduce the calorie intake of its employees, protecting them from disease caused by bad eating habits.
- Filling the diversity gap
Through continuous research on diversity, people analytics teams conducted to identify the diversity gaps in the organization. According to Google’s most recent demographic report, 69% of its workforce and 80% of its technical staff are males. This domination has led to the voice recognition technologies failed to understand the female voices. To tackle this problem, the team is using algorithms to avoid unconscious bias in hiring decisions. Google diversity report for 2019 has also published data voluntarily provided by employees along the lines of disability status, LGBTQ+, gender identity, and military experience.
- Learning and development
Research by Jaap M. J. Murre on “Replication and Analysis of Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve” showed that within an hour, people can forget 50% of the information. Keeping this in mind the people analyst team launched the “Googler-to-Googler (g2g)” training methods- where 80% of the training is run through an employee to employee. Through this program, Google empowers its employees to be smart, capable, motivated, and share knowledge.
Google also came up with a “whisper course”- like a whisper into a manager’s ear. Where there is a series of emails with a simple suggestion for a manager to try in their one-on-one team meeting. Over ten weeks, managers could build better psychological safety on their team by trying these whisper suggestions.
With such wide and innovative employee engagement practices, Google has able to keep all its stakeholders happy. Laszlo Bock’s” long term vision to use the data for employee’s benefit, can be seen as a fruit-bearing for Google.
Kirti Kumar is a budding HR professional currently pursuing PGDM in HR and Marketing at New Delhi Institue of Management. She looks forward to opportunities that can hone her skills. She is agile in her attitude with versatility in her action.
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