Google Inc., also known as Google, is a technology company that specializes in services and products linked to the Internet, Web 2.0, social networks, IT technologies, and other technologies. Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded the company in 1996. Google provides various services in advertising, licensing, consumer, enterprise, and online services. One of the most famous Google’s services is the search engine Google Search that was launched in 1997.
Google is famous for its approach towards employees that emphasizes their talents and curiosity rather than their education, college and university experience and grades. New HRM challenges in the 21st century include the understanding of how employees can be rewarded and retained, how next generation of corporate leaders can be created, and what corporate culture can attract the best employees (Lussier and Hendon 10). Google’s HRM management and HR strategies have successfully solved the new challenges, although some recommendations and plans could be regarded as a tool for improving Google’s management of human resources.
Current HR Programs
The variety of HR programs in Google Inc. is huge, but the major ones will be presented in this section. Job satisfaction, turnover, and absenteeism of the employees are able to have an adverse impact on the company’s success and raise the company’s expenditures. These three factors are connected because an employee that is not satisfied with their job is more likely to leave the position, creating a turnover, or be absent, creating indirect costs (Lussier and Hendon 10). To avoid any of the mentioned challenges, Google Inc.’s HR department uses forecasting of HR demand, identification of possible shortages and surplus of employees (that are unlikely), and flexibility strategy in the evaluation of the balance of supply and demand (Panmore Institute).
The first strategy, namely the forecasting, consists of two techniques (qualitative scenario analysis and a mixed method to evaluate the variables of each scenario) (Panmore Institute). The forecasting technique is also used in the identification of possible shortages that are not a major concern for the company that provides web-based products. Nevertheless, it is needed in production processes. The flexible strategy that is used in production and distribution of electronics targets the HR demand that can vary more significantly than in software products and advertising services (Panmore Institute). The information systems of the company also contribute to the successful implementation of the HR strategies that extensively support the human resources of the company.
Recruiting Practices and Selection Process
Job design is important both for employees’ productivity and for recruitment strategies and practices. Lussier and Hendon define job design as “the process of identifying tasks that each employee is responsible for completing [and] how those tasks will be accomplished” (130). HR managers use the organizational design of the company to identify the links and relations among the company’s parts; this approach allows the HR department to optimize the HRM activities that also influence job analysis and design. Google Inc.’s job analysis consists of worker- and work-oriented methods (Panmore Institute). The components of the organization structure are able to influence the employees’ decision to act in a certain way (Lussier and Hendon 130). The worker-oriented job analysis method is used in branches where interpersonal relationships are important, while work-oriented job analysis is needed in product research and development (Panmore Institute).
The recruitment practices of the company include the use of both internal and external sources: promotions and transfers serve as internal sources, while educational institutions, use of social media to attract and respond to potential employees, and job advertisements on the Google company’s website as external sources (Panmore Institute). The advertisements placed on the company’s website are the indirect method of recruitment; contact to potential employees through social media (i.e. LinkedIn) and academic institutions is a direct method of recruitment used by the company.
The selection process can require several steps and may vary depending on the company and the future employee’s position. Bad hires can result in losses and lower productivity (Panmore Institute). Google Inc. uses interviews, résumé reviews, on-the-job tests, background checks, as well as preliminary screening, during the selection process (Panmore Institute). Work experience is not as important for the organization as the employees’ smartness, curiosity, and strive for excellence. Moreover, the future employee should also be interested in and support the organization’s overall strategy.
In-House Training and Development Programs
Google in-house programs are various and depend on the branch of the organization. The HR department uses cost-benefit analysis to understand if the program training and activities are beneficial (Panmore Institute). It also uses the results-oriented method to evaluate the training outcomes, while the relation model aims to optimize the relationships between workers in the organization.
The recent training-and-development program launched by Google in 2010 is the GoogleEDU. The program uses data analytics and productiveness evaluations to educate the thousands of employees. Special classes are used for new managers who are not familiar with the company’s organization and authority distribution. The aim of the development program is to focus on the learning and teaching of the employees. Nevertheless, Google Inc. also provides its employees with management coaches, workshops, and conferences that aim to teach the employees how their social and presentation skills could be improved or how they should ask for a better salary. This approach was used by the organization before the launch of the GoogleEDU.
Performance Management Systems
The organization’s performance management systems focus on customer and diversity support, communication among employees and with customers, as well as employees’ abilities to evaluate and solve problems. Performance managers evaluate workers’ internal communication to understand what practices can be implemented.
To measure the activities and performance, Google relies on creativity, ethical contributions to innovations, collaboration levels of teams, etc. (Panmore Institute). If individual or collective performance raises concerns in the HR department, it conducts interviews to discuss skills, abilities, and knowledge of the employees. The interviews are often informal and unstructured and align with the company’s overall strategy.
Employee benefits at Google Inc. are various and include free food and drinks at the campus, free shuttles to live in, coverage for maternity or paternity leave (male employees are allowed to leave for eight weeks, while female employees can leave for eighteen weeks to care for their newborn). Google also provides the so-called “death benefit”: if a Google employee dies, the spouse will receive half of the employee’s salary for ten years (Panmore Institute). Moreover, Google employees are allowed to use company’s products before they are announced to the public. The program Google Conveys provides employees with free rides and travels. At last, free fitness classes, martial arts classes, pools, and gym memberships are also provided.
Compensation and Diversity Programs
Google uses various approaches to ensure that the employees will receive their compensation if they are injured or traumatized during the working process. Google provides compensations and covers for workers who need to leave their position due to health problems; moreover, as it was mentioned above, Google also can compensate the employee’s family in case of the employee’s death (Panmore Institute).
Google diversity programs include hiring of ethnic minorities and women. However, Google’s aims to provide more diversity in the company are not satisfying, as only 3% of the workers are Hispanic, 2% are Black, and 32% are Asian. 59% of the employees are White (Panmore Institute).
Employee Relations and Labor Unions
Employee relations include different approaches, such as coaching, conflict resolution, disciplining, and others (Lussier and Hendon 20). To ensure that the strategies used in the company are practical, the HR department uses data before implementing any employee relations strategies. Leadership strategies are taught at the GoogleEDU, and relationships among employees and their evaluation of managers are measured via surveys (Panmore Institute).
As to labor unions, they are almost absent in the Silicon Alley. Neither Google Inc. nor other multinational giants (e.g. Facebook) have labor unions. Nevertheless, Google Inc. does not prohibit its employees to join any labor unions. It was reported that low-wage workers at Google had demanded an establishment of a labor union that could protect them and their rights; nevertheless, so far Google Inc. does not work with any labor unions directly (Panmore Institute).
This could be explained by the fact that many of the Google’s employees are freelancers who are constantly shifting between various companies and organizations. The advantage of labor unions is that they are able to moderate and control the company’s practices according to the existing laws and regulations, providing the employees with more protection (Lussier and Hendon 20). However, Silicon Valley is known for its “labor unions free” approach; instead of the unions, the company provides serious benefits and compensation packages for its employees, as well as different free courses and services.
Another reason why Google Inc. is not interested in labor unions is the fact that labor unions oppose technology’s interference with and impact on the employees’ working process (Lussier and Hendon 20). It would be therefore unlikely to assume that a tech giant like Google would be interested in working with a labor union that does not support the company’s aims and strategies. Nevertheless, the issue remains unresolved as not all Google employees’ agree with such policy. Many of them seek for protection that labor unions are able to provide. Due to the lack of these unions in the Silicon Valley employees are forced to sign petitions and strike (Panmore Institute). Thus, Google Inc. needs to work with the labor unions to ensure that employees’ satisfaction with the organization and the job conditions is not low due to the lack of the mentioned unions.
Safety and Health Programs
Google Inc.’s health and safety policies are provided on their main website. The organization stresses that it does not use any forced or indentured labor, as well as child labor (citizens under 15 or 14 years are defined as children). No workers that are under 18 including student interns and trainees perform any activities or practices that might harm their health (Google Company). Potential safety hazards are controlled by the company, as well as worker’s exposure towards it (Google Company). Any potential emergencies are reported and evaluated; evacuation procedures are performed if necessary (Google Company). To receive more information about the safety and health policies, I contacted Salima Ladha (+1-415-788-2844/[email protected]), a recruiting specialist at Google Inc., to find out what details potential employees needed to know.
She has been working at Google for approximately three years; her responsibilities included direct recruitment of employees. She has previously worked at OpenView as recruiting specialist; she studied at London School of Economics and Political Science and Wilfrid Laurier University. She has answered my question concerning safety issues at Google Inc. According to her, all precautions and policies stated on the website are regularly followed and controlled. Moreover, employees are encouraged to express critique or approval of the policies in a written form so that the HR department is able to evaluate their opinion. Salima Ladha also stated that the company normally provides coverage for any injured or illnesses. If employees have to undergo surgeries, the company will cover the period of the absence as well. The interviewee noticed that once an individual is able to work again, the tasks they are provided with have to correspond with their current abilities.
Global HRM has been developing for the past several decades; due to globalization, the Internet, changes in the international trade, the rise of trade blocs, and other factors, global HRM became possible and even profitable for such large corporations as Google (Lussier and Hendon 594). Google Inc.’s HR department is called People Operations; it is responsible for thousands of employees on the six continents. Google provides global travel assistance, develops appropriate HR strategies that target specific cultures, and provides free English courses in non-English speaking branches. Nevertheless, it should also be noted that not all employment benefits are available for foreign employees. Specific benefits such as “death benefit” are not available outside of the USA. Some of the company’s rules (e.g. reduced time of interviews) are not followed in the company’s branches in other countries. Therefore, it seems reasonable to advise the company to provide better control over the strategies and rules that are implemented.
Specific laws of other states also need to be regarded to ensure that the company functions efficiently. For example, employees’ wages are controlled by employees and labor unions in Germany (Lussier and Hendon 599). If Google Inc. does not encourage working with labor unions, it needs to implement other policies so that the company does not violate domestic laws of the states. Some of the Google Inc.’s policies are only implemented in the USA but not in other international branches.
HR Strategies and Company’s Strategy
Google’s strategy can be defined as “work smarter, not harder”; it also aims to increase employees’ happiness with the working process that will lead to increased productivity. Google Inc. has a scientific approach towards its products and customers, and, as we can see from this report, the HR department of the company uses scientific approaches and evaluation of the data in its strategies. Moreover, HR strategies also provide employees with various benefits that can increase their happiness and ensure that these employees are willing to stay. As Google Inc. strives for innovation, so does the HR department that forecasts the outcomes of any new strategy that is to be implemented.
Human Resources Recommendations
The evaluation method used in this report was a qualitative method supported by observation. In this paper, information about Google Inc.’s strategies was critically reviewed and compared to the current trends. Moreover, an interview with a Google employee was also used in the research to explore the issue.
The following recommendations can be developed based on the audit findings:
- The organization needs to pay more attention to diversity programs. Only a small percentage of the employees at the company are ethnic minorities; moreover, Google Inc. does not present any information about disabled and LGBTQA+ employees and if there are any challenges for them to be hired.
- The company needs to begin working with labor unions if employees require such cooperation. Labor unions would bring more protection of the low-wage workers; they could also help control any violations of rights if these might happen.
- Google Inc. needs to manage its international branches and offices more efficiently to ensure that all benefits provided by the company are also available in the foreign offices. Google does not provide any statistics about the foreign branches and how the employees’ benefit and compensation packages are provided there. This can lead to employees’ poor satisfaction with the working process and the company itself.
To improve the programs, it would be reasonable to advise the company to:
- launch a specific project that will target ethnic minorities, LGBTQA+, and disabled individuals.
- conduct research within the company to ensure that women, ethnic minorities, LGBTQA+, and disabled individuals are not discriminated.
- provide quotas for the mentioned minorities and vulnerable populations.
- establish a labor union or engage with labor unions across the world.
- conduct a survey among the employees regarding the need for a labor union.
- provide protection to low-wage workers by establishing (a temporary) employment union.
- evaluate the effectiveness of the labor union once it is established.
- ensure that labor unions are contacted and engaged in company’s processes in all international branches.
- conduct a survey among freelance workers to evaluate opposing opinions and demands.
- improve the workers’ conditions according to their demands.
- provide conferences at international branches to ensure that the workers are aware of the benefits that the company is able to provide.
- conduct surveys to understand what benefits and compensations are neglected in the non-USA branches.
- update policies and HR strategies in international branches that will make the reduction of benefits a violation against the company.
- provide lessons and courses that will teach employees about their rights and benefits.
- conduct a major survey to understand what benefits are more likely to be avoided or neglected in foreign branches of Google Inc.
- To ensure that the recommendations are followed and implemented, the company’s employees can be interviewed in the next one or two years to evaluate the results of the implementations. Moreover, the company can be required to provide detailed information and assessment of the impact of the new strategies. They can be evaluated both with qualitative method (via interviews) and with quantitative method (via surveys and big data). The HR departments both in the USA and in foreign offices might be required to conduct research that will show how employees’ satisfaction has increased or decreased due to the implemented changes.
Google Company. Responsible Manufacturing. 2016. Web.
Lussier, Robert N., and John R. Hendon. Human Resource Management: Functions, Applications, and Skill Development. SAGE Publications. 2015.
Panmore Institute. Google’s HRM. 2015. Web.