Why Google’s Employee Engagement Programs are Bad for Your Business

By Greta Roberts, CEO Talent Analytics, Corp.

Was reading this article about Laszlo Bock, VP People Operations at Google in Human Resource Executive Online. He’s receiving well-deserved attention for the work he has been doing at Google with understanding and providing engagement programs to keep Google’s key employees engaged, excited and performing.

What happens next both makes me crazy and wastes time and a huge amount of money for businesses all over the world.

Businesses around the world will copy Google.  Not their “approach” but their actual programs.  Laszlo warned against this in the article where he said “I don’t think it would make sense for just about any other company to try and replicate what Google does, because so much of how you manage people is [Google]-specific…”

Be warned.  Google completed multiple steps before selecting their engagement plans. Engagement programs are final step not the only step.

Businesses will copy only the final step.  And they’ll do this because talent is not strategic for them.  They want to pretend talent is strategic but it isn’t.

To simplify Google’s process:

  • Google established a “people analytics team” to figure out what makes their employees happy now vs. tomorrow.  It’s an ongoing study.  The answer changes based on the business environment, the economy, and the employees currently in their organization.  This is not an event.  It’s a commitment to people analytics (talent analytics).  It’s a program not an event.
  • Create programs that align with the needs of their employees.

Businesses will copy the wrong thing.  They’ll copy the engagement programs (final step) and not copy the people analytics (or talent analytics) step where Google analyzed what their employees want Step 1.

Google’s engagement programs work for two reasons – because people are strategic to Google’s strategy and because they’ve completed the analytics step (Step 1).

So – don’t copy Google’s programs.  Copy Google’s commitment to making people strategic to success and copy their people analytics methodology.  Talent analytics technology exists today to help.  It’s not as hard as you think it is.  But it does take a commitment to truly making talent strategic in your organization.

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2 Responses to “Why Google’s Employee Engagement Programs are Bad for Your Business”

  1. Sid Says:

    August 7th, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    I agree to your views. There is lot to learn and internalize before we leverage from google. The first step is to know who we are and how central is people agenda. Second step is to know what are business imperatives and how does talent fit in it. Third is to create a key success metrics that align talent strategy to business. Forth, is to use analytics to correlate business impact and talent initiatives. Fifth is to communicate and learn all the time from data and what you hear and see on a daily basis.

  2. Let’s Talk About Practical Application of HR Research | Something Different HR Says:

    February 18th, 2014 at 8:36 am

    […] has a great post up that speaks to the heart of what a good research analytics process looks like here. Specifically, Greta talks about the way that Google has grown employee engagement and productivity […]

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