Laszlo Bock, former senior vice president of people operations at Google and now CEO of Humu, is pretty much the LeBron James of HR. In the few years he spent at Google, he managed to revolutionize the way organizations view and manage their people.
Last week, Bock gave a keynote speech at the 2017 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Annual Conference. (Yes, there is such a thing.)
Bock, who grew Google's workforce from 6,000 to 76,000 employees, stressed the importance of HR's role in improving the world of work for the masses.
Let's take a look at the six strategies, announced in a SHRM article, Bock shared to make work a little better for your employees.
1. Give jobs meaning
Although feeling a sense of purpose is personal and unique to each individual, there are ways that HR can uncover and connect what people do to why they do it. Unfortunately, Bock said, "Across industries and job types, roughly a third of people find meaning in their jobs."
Beyond the obvious, a 2017 SHRM report found that meaningful work accounted for 14 percent of voluntary turnover. On the flip side, 29 percent of employees who stayed with their organization's listed meaningful work was the motivator. That's a 43 percent swing in voluntary turnover making meaningful work a major player in retaining your top employees.
2. Build trust
As a leader, to foster a culture of trust and transparency, you have to go first. Bock describes it this way, "If you believe people are fundamentally good, you're going to treat them that way." Although the concept seems insignificant, having faith in your people and relinquishing a little control greatly benefits companies.
Employees are more productive, have the freedom to experiment and think creatively. Adversely, feelings of distrust in leadership leads to stress, divisiveness, and a lack of motivation -- not the best conditions for productivity.
How much trust is enough? Bock says, "You want to give people a little more freedom than you're comfortable with."
3. Hire people better than you
We all have a tendency to fall prey to confirmation bias -- the tendency to interpret new information in a way supportive of our personal viewpoints. Especially, when we are interviewing and hiring new team members. If left unchecked, we can select people based on similar interests, rather than potential impact.
To prevent this, Bock suggests this practice, "The simplest rule is to only hire people who are better than you personally in some meaningful way." To ensure this was accomplished while at Google, Bock said, "The best thing to do is to have a separate hiring committee. It should have nobody on it who will actually work with this person."
Although it seems unrealistic, this strategy minimizes the risk of subjective interviews.
4. Pay "unfairly"
"It's going to feel wrong... but unless you do this your competitors are going to pick off your best people," said Bock. The truth is, strong performers produce significantly higher dividends for employers than the average.
With that said, companies must explicitly demonstrate that pay is based solely on performance.
5. Offer a nudge
Although the internal study focused on ways to bring new Google hires up to speed more efficiently, the results (reducing new hire time to productivity by three months) revealed that "nudges" can help employees stay on track.
Simple ideas like sending emails stressing important factors (checklists), encouraging employees to ask questions, and ensuring their equipment is functioning from the start, improves their absorption rates and helps them tackle the learning curve.
This work is never done. It's a cyclical process that has the accumulative affect of improving the global workplace. As HR professionals, Bock challenged everyone to think differently. Not to view work as an obligation, but to do everything in our power to make work a little better for our employees.