To protect and ensure the integrity of culture, every organization has its own version of hiring do's and don'ts. Some of these criteria are clearly articulated and assessed, while others are unspoken sociocultural norms. 

Typically, the larger and more decentralized an organization becomes, the more it invests in uncovering these guidelines in hopes of preserving and scaling its environment. There are very few organizations with the size and scale of Google. In any given year, Google receives two million job applications worldwide. It also has one of the most celebrated and desired workplace cultures. So how do they do it?

In an interview with Forbes contributor Tom Vander Ark, Iveta Brigis, a former member of Google's People Operations Team, shared her unique perspective on hiring and developing talent after spending 12 years with the tech giant. 

In total, Brigis shared 10 talent takeaways. Here are my three favorites. I've added my personal take to each one. 

1. Trust pays off.

Through an internal initiative to better understand the traits of its best performing teams, Google discovered that the number one contributor to a group's performance was psychological safety. 

We've all been in meetings and, due to the fear of seeming incompetent, have held back questions or ideas. It's unnerving to feel like you're in an environment where everything you do or say is under a microscope. 

Google combats this by ensuring everyone feels safe to take risks, voice their opinions, and ask judgment-free questions. Their managers provide air cover and create safe zones so employees can let down their guard. 

It makes a difference. Google found that teams with psychologically safe environments had employees who were less likely to leave, more likely to harness the power of diversity, and ultimately, who were more successful.

2. Don't trust your gut.

Every day we are faced with hundreds of choices composed of millions of variables. It's entirely unfathomable to contemplate them all. So, to help us sift through the influx of possibilities and fill in the gaps, our brains tap into our unconscious minds for guidance to circumvent the vast decision tree of life -- AKA, a gut-decision. 

After being in recruiting for nearly a decade, I've noticed, that if left to their own devices, people have a tendency to hire themselves. Unless they're challenged, it's easy for affinity and confirmation bias to unintentionally overshadow reason. 

Google combats this by training its managers on how to beat bias through structure, data, and accountability, and has even been known to remove hiring managers from the decision altogether. 

By ensuring managers don't hire themselves, Google builds dynamic teams that benefit from a diversity of thought and complementary skill sets. 

3. Grow your own

Providing development opportunities is one of the best ways to retain and engage employees. To help its employees grow, Google has invested in a learning culture that is focused on uncovering, teaching and perfecting the basics, where its highest skilled employees mentor others, and, when necessary, provides outside courses that deliver deliberate outcomes. 

Culture is an umbrella term for the collective decisions of an organization. Google ensures the integrity of its culture by studying and understanding the impact of its choices, and then scaling them across the organization. 

Published on: Mar 14, 2019
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