I urge all HR managers to read more about Google’s approach to HR. And then make their Board read about it!

Google is a huge organisation. It’s one of the most recognised brands in the worlds. It’s become a verb. So it must be doing something right, right?

Now, I would stake a bet that most people won’t rank HR as a major factor in this success. Yet it was incredibly interesting to read yesterday about the importance that Google places on its HR processes as a key factor in this success. In fact, Google asks its HR team to constantly challenge traditional HR processes.

Through data mining and analysis, Google’s HR function is able to show the importance of communication and what are the best ways of communicating up, down and across. Google rightly acknowledges that there needs to be a clear path for career advancement, and data analysis from HR ensures that it recruits the appropriate levels to ensure that there are achievable career paths for junior joiners.

Knowing what makes a good manager and helping them achieve this, the importance of communication, the need for achievable objectives, and the need to know that career progression is open and achievable; all of these are essential for employee engagement. And employee engagement is essential for productivity.

Of course, Google being Google, it has in-house access to the best analytic and data mining brains out there to help it do this. The reality is that not every HR function has this advantage! Yet HR managers could do worse than to take note of Google’s approach, which essentially espouses the importance and benefits of measurement. Performance measurement, engagement measurement, manager measurement – all of these actively help the HR function get the best out of its people, and deliver value to the board.

And the Board of these companies should take note of Google’s approach to HR and the recognition it gives to HR in ensuring it continues to be a company that the best people want to work for.

There is one thing the article didn’t mention though and that’s the reputation that Google has as a ‘good’ employer. I don’t just mean that it has cutting edge designed break out rooms and free coffee! I mean its well-known commitment to philanthropy – a major factor in attracting a high number of applicants and keeping current employees engaged and motivated. And this is something that HR and the board should be acutely aware of when they are doing their HR number-crunching. With 27% of employees disengaged and 87% wanting to work for socially engaged employers this approach is a no-brainer.