Research Library Article


HR Insights from Google that will Transform Your Company

David Earle

A world class competitor reports on what has worked and what hasn’t in creating one of the most innovative and successful human capital cultures in business.

It’s rare for companies to reveal the secrets of their success, but Google isn’t a typical company. Because they understand the powerful connection between giving back to society and their employment brand, and because they know that their exceptional corporate visibility means that any successful innovation will be noticed and talked about, they encouraged Lazlo Bock, their senior people officer, to write a book about how this highly analytical company has approached the universal HR issues related to hiring and motivating top talent, and where that approach has led them.

Google realized almost from the very beginning that people would be its greatest commercial asset. The two founders’ backgrounds, coupled with their early experiences in the hyper-competitive Silicon Valley business environment, convinced them that business success depended on creating and sustaining a hiring and performance culture that was measurably better than any competitor’s. And they succeeded.

As the company wrestled with extraordinary growth and its accompanying HR issues, they drew on their analytical, engineering-oriented culture to create a continuous “experiment-measure-analyze-try again” model to tackle them. They didn’t get everything right every time, not by a long shot, but they did manage to quickly learn what worked and what didn’t. A failed experiment, to them, merely meant another batch of useful information.

Among their many useful findings, all explained in the book: effective hiring depends on deemphasizing the manager’s role in selection; unconscious biases are rampant in the traditional selection process; command-and-control management is antithetical to high productivity; there is no gain from a disproportionate focus on graduates of prestige schools; and brainteasers are not useful hiring tools.

Google’s success need not be unique. As the book makes clear, their HR success is not a function of either size or resources. As they themselves have learned, any size company in any industry in any part of the world can productively apply at least some of what they have learned. The lessons are universal.

Contents (partial)

  • Culture eats Strategy for Breakfast
  • Lake Wobegon, where all the new hires of above average
  • Google’s “self-replicating talent machine”
  • Don’t trust your gut
  • Let the inmates run the asylum
  • Pay unfairly
  • Nudge…a lot
  • Building the world’s first people operations team



Work Rules! Insights from Inside Google
That Will Transform How You Live and Lead

Author Lazlo Bock
Date 2015
Pages 400+
Cost $9 - $20 depending on format
URL Link
Staffing library keywords Leadership, strategy