As one of the world’s most admired companies, Google clearly get many things right. And having read Work Rules by Laszlo Bock, Google’s SVP of People Operations, I’ll put L&D into that category.
This was evident the moment I read the phrase:
“The biggest opportunities lie in your absolutely worst and best employees”
Based on Bock’s insights, I’ve identified 3 key lessons that we can all learn from Google. None of it is rocket science, some of it we already know, and much of it could easily be applied to other organisations. So, here are my top 3 L&D lessons from Google:
#1: “The people in the bottom tail [of the performance rating distribution curve] represent the biggest opportunity to improve performance in your company.”
Google, like many organisations, have deliberated and experimented with different ways (and reasons for) performance ratings. Whilst others are doing away with them altogether, Google seem to have become clearer on the reasons they rate their people and more robust in the way they do so.
Considering the lowest rated performers as “the biggest opportunity to improve performance in your company” is very different from those companies whose approach is to exit a certain percentage of them each year. The rationale Bock provides is that if performance is simply down to people not being good enough, then that’s a negative reflection on Google’s recruitment, which they pride themselves on and have invested so heavily in.
So, despite the latest performance management trend being to not rateperformance, there’s still benefit in knowing which of your people do truly perform at an optimum level and those who do not… Yet.
Lesson: Identify high performers and low performers in your organisation – with robust, consistent criteria – and understand more about what is actually happening so you too can capitalise on the biggest opportunity to improve performance in your company.
#2: “Put your best people under a microscope”
Once you’ve identified your top performers, you need to fully understand what they do and know that differentiates them.
Bock recommends that organisations “put their best people under a microscope”explaining that “every company has the seeds of its future success in its best people.”