Data Inform Plate Sizes at Google
Non-engineer Google employees take a programming class the company offers. Google's famous perks are the work of a data-driven human resources department, a new report found.
Raises are more effective than bonuses, three to four minutes is the perfect lunch-line wait, and 12 weeks of paid maternity leave is more cost-effective than having to hire new engineers when young mothers quit, Google's human resources department has found.
Slate has those lessons and more after taking a look inside Google's HR, which the company calls People Operations, or POPS for short. POPS relies heavily on long surveys and detailed data on its employees to inform its decisions, Slate reports. In that sense, it's much like Google's engineering departments, which are famed for harvesting data from people's usage of Google products such as its search engine to guide updates and changes. For POPS, data-crunching informs everything from benefits to workplace environment to decisions on who to hire, fire and promote.
The results are sometimes a little funny — one HR study targeted the size of plates in Google's cafeteria — but evidently effective. Google has topped Fortune magazine's annual list of best companies to work for since 2010. It's also, as Slate wrote, "insanely profitable."
Google is the only top technology company that runs HR in this way, Slate reported.
How much can other companies crib from Google's hard-earned lessons? Some of Google's findings, such as the importance of middle managers (really), are probably pretty helpful anywhere. Others may depend on the state of the company. "Google has the luxury of worrying about the best way to give people more money instead of, say, the ideal manner in which to lay them off," Slate wrote.