Beyond beanbags: A guide to what makes Google a great workplace

A new book from Google's HR chief explores the data-driven strategies-not the quirks and perks-that make his company the best place to work in America

Published: Apr 17, 2015
Beyond beanbags: A guide to what makes Google a great workplace
Image: Getty Images
Laszlo Bock

Management books tend to be windy affairs stuffed with bromides about teams (there’s no ‘I’ in them, have you heard?) and insipid advice about keeping track of your cheese or harnessing the power of the discipline of the art of the habits of highly effective people.

Thus it’s nice to report that Laszlo Bock’s Work Rules!: Insights From Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live And Lead delivers on its promise. Befitting a volume written deep within the algorithm factory, Work Rules! is dense with data and counter-intuitive conclusions for anyone looking to make the workplace a better place. “People come visit Google all the time, then go install lava lamps and beanbags,” Bock says. “What’s missing is ‘Here’s the handbook for how you make the magic happen’.” A few of our favourite rules:

4 Optimal number of times a candidate should be interviewed. Google once interviewed candidates as many as 25 times. Yet data show that an employee can be hired with 86 percent confidence after four interviews; each subsequent meeting adds just one predictive percentage.

100 Percent of Google staffers who are paid unevenly, regardless of title. Compensation tracks individuals’ contributions, rather than rank, even if that means they’re outearning their peers.

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0 Number of times an opening should be posted on public job boards. The best candidates already know where they want to work—they aren’t scouring job postings.

10 Seconds it takes to make a subconscious—and often incorrect— decision about whether to hire someone. Google subverts those snap first impressions by providing hiring managers with an “interview guide” full of “pre-validated” questions that have historically proven effective in identifying potentially great hires.

(This story appears in the 01 May, 2015 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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