Google’s HRM: Training, Performance Management

Google human resource management includes training, performance, planning, needs analysis, design, delivery, evaluation, measures, standards
Google Street View camera cars. Google’s human resource management practices holistically address employee training needs and performance management. (Image: Public Domain)

Google’s human resource management practices cover effective employee training programs, as well as performance management to maximize human resource capabilities. The company uses appropriate needs analysis to design training programs aimed at supporting an innovative workforce. The training programs and their results are regularly evaluated to ensure that they meet Google’s human resource needs. The company also has finely tuned performance management practices, inclusive of performance planning that directly address corporate objectives for HRM. However, the company also experiences performance problems in its human resources. To address this condition, Google’s human resource management uses information about performance problems as basis for improving performance management practices along with employee training programs.

This article is part of a series on Google’s human resource management:

  1. Google’s HRM: HR Planning, Job Analysis & Design
  2. Google’s HRM: Recruitment, Selection, Retention
  3. Google’s HRM: Training, Performance Management
  4. Google’s HRM: Compensation, Career Development

Employee Training at Google

Needs Analysis. Google’s HR management uses different types of needs analysis, such as organizational analysis, work analysis, and cost-benefit analysis. Organizational analysis identifies new human resource needs based on the firm’s current situation. For example, in developing new products and investing in new businesses, Google conducts organizational analysis to determine the corresponding human resource requirements. Work analysis determines the specific requirements to fulfill work tasks. Google applies work analysis on new jobs, or when an organizational restructuring has just occurred. Cost-benefit analysis determines the practicality of training programs and activities. Google’s HRM objective in using this type of analysis is to maximize the benefits achieved through training programs.

Program Design. Google’s HR management uses a combination of the relational model and the results-oriented approach for training program design. The relational model focuses on the relationship of the company with employees. Google maintains positive internal relations to foster employee participation in creative and innovative processes. The results-oriented approach focuses on training outcomes. For example, in implementing a training program, Google uses this approach to facilitate employees’ learning. Thus, the relational model optimizes relations among employees, while the results-oriented approach ensures that Google’s human resources are effective.

Delivery. Google’s human resource management delivers training programs in various ways, such as discussions, simulations and on-the-job training. Discussions enable Google to maintain rich communications involving employees. With rich communications, training programs also benefit through maximum feedback from the trainees. The company uses simulations to facilitate creative responses. Simulations empower Google’s employees to understand the details of work tasks, projects, and products. The company’s HRM uses on-the-job training to maximize the transfer of knowledge to new hires or interns. Many of these interns are absorbed into Google’s organization.

Evaluation. Google has summative and descriptive purposes in evaluating training programs. The summative purpose is to determine the effectiveness of the program in developing human resources. The descriptive purpose of evaluation is to understand the effects of the training on employees. Google’s human resource management uses evaluation variables like trainees’ learning and reactions, and the results of training programs in terms of changes in human resource knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Google’s Performance Management Practices

Performance Planning. Google’s performance planning efforts address different dimensions of its human resource management, including customer service, communication, support for diversity, and problem solving abilities. Google’s performance appraisal programs also use variables corresponding to these dimensions. For example, the company’s HRM evaluates employees’ performance in internal communications and problem-solving activities to decide on performance management approaches.

Link to Corporate Objectives. Google’s performance management practices are directly linked to corporate objectives for human resource management because they ensure that employees remain capable of supporting the firm’s business activities. For instance, the emphasis on diversity supports diverse ideas, which lead to higher rates of innovation. Innovation is part of Google’s corporate objectives. Also, the emphasis on problem-solving abilities ensures that the human resources are satisfactory in developing Google’s organizational resilience.

Measurements and Standards. Google’s HR management uses different sets of measurements and standards for its performance management practices in different areas of human resources. The firm uses individual measurements of ethical conduct and contributions to innovation and quality of output. Google’s human resource management also uses team variables like collaboration level. Creativity is also an important measure of the performance of the firm’s human resources because creative employees contribute more to Google’s innovative culture. The company maintains high standards for all of these measures and always emphasizes excellence in employees.

Performance Interviews. Google’s human resource management conducts performance interviews that address concerns about individual performance and team performance. The individual performance interviews cover knowledge, skills, abilities and other attributes of employees. The team performance interviews cover how employees perform as part of project teams in Google. Note that the company forms and disbands teams for different purposes and projects. The interviews are also structured and unstructured, formal and informal. Google’s HRM uses unstructured and informal interviews in the fun meeting places, such as the coffee and snack areas of its offices.

Performance Problems. Google’s human resource management is usually concerned about performance problems in the areas of quality of work and work behaviors. In terms of quality of work, some red flags for HR managers are errors and ineffective work techniques. In terms of work behaviors, Google’s HR managers are concerned about negativism, power struggles, and tardiness or delays.

References
  • Alexander, D. (2015). Google HR Boss: We Don’t Care Where You Went To College. Forbes.
  • Den Hartog, D. N., Boselie, P., & Paauwe, J. (2004). Performance management: A model and research agenda. Applied Psychology53(4), 556-569.
  • Geier, B. (2015). This is Google’s secret to making work less awful. Fortune.
  • Google Inc. (2014). Google Inc. Form 10-K, 2014.
  • Google Inc. (2015). People operations – Google Careers.
  • Guest, D. (2002). Human resource management, corporate performance and employee wellbeing: Building the worker into HRM. Journal of Industrial Relations44(3), 335-358.
  • Hansson, B. (2007). Company-based determinants of training and the impact of training on company performance: Results from an international HRM survey. Personnel Review36(2), 311-331.
  • Lengnick-Hall, C. A., Beck, T. E., & Lengnick-Hall, M. L. (2011). Developing a capacity for organizational resilience through strategic human resource management. Human Resource Management Review21(3), 243-255.
  • Mathis, R. L., & Jackson, J. (2011). Human resource management: Essential perspectives. Cengage Learning.
  • Shipton, H., West, M. A., Dawson, J., Birdi, K., & Patterson, M. (2006). HRM as a predictor of innovation. Human resource management journal16(1), 3-27.
  • Wright, P. M., & McMahan, G. C. (2011). Exploring human capital: putting ‘human’ back into strategic human resource management. Human Resource Management Journal21(2), 93-104.
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