From free gourmet lunches to on-campus rock climbing, it’s no wonder everyone wants to work at Google. However, behind all of these fancy work perks is a company that focuses on and sets protocols for employee improvement, training, equality, work-life balance and more.
In fact, the search giant has a structured process for nearly every aspect of management. From anonymous feedback surveys to unbiasing workshops, Google makes sure it supports its employees every step of the way. And now it wants to help you too.
Recently released on its blog Re:Work, Google shared some of the most effective internal tools it uses in order to manage and run one of the most successful organizations in the world. In fact, it goes beyond some tools -- the company has also released a robust set of guides, insights, training programs, workshops and more to the public, covering everything from hiring to team building.
To learn how you can lead more like the search giant, here are 11 problems some of these free tools could solve for you, improving everything from goal setting to work-life balance.
Providing constructive feedback to managers
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To continuously improve as a manager and build a cohesive team, it’s important to foster an environment open to feedback. The manager feedback survey is Google’s way of gathering anonymous employee feedback to provide to managers and help them develop. The survey consists of around a dozen statements, which employees either “agree” or “disagree” with.
Opening up the conversation
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To help managers understand employee goals, aspirations and wants, Google uses a career conversations worksheet, which helps create a blueprint of someone’s career at the company. It uses the GROW model, which breaks down the structure into four categories: goals, reality, options and will.
Having a healthy work-life balance
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Google wants to make sure employees have a healthy work-life balance. To ensure this, the company encourages employees to set goals using its “one simple thing” worksheet. Team members write down one personal goal and share it with their manager, who helps encourage them to reach it. Some examples of goals are: “I will take a one hour break three times a week to work out” or “I will not read emails on the weekend.”
Preparing for effective one-on-one meetings
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To make sure employees are receiving the attention they need to be successful, Google encourages managers to have one-on-one meetings with their direct reports. To make sure the right questions are asked and the best topics addressed, the search giant provides a 1:1 meeting agenda template that managers and employees can contribute to before going into a meeting. The template includes agenda suggestions such as check-in questions, goal updates, next steps, career development and more.
To help employees seamlessly transition into managerial roles, Google designed its own manager training course. The course focuses on skill building, introspection, perspective shifting and awareness building. It provides a guide, a student workbook and presentation slides.
Google uses OKRs (objectives and key results) to set and measure objectives. Graded on a 0.0 to 1.0 scale, the company can measure and keep track of how well employees achieved an objective. It has shared its OKR scorecard and the OKR spreadsheet it uses to calculate overall grades.
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To ensure every job candidate gets the same fair treatment and opportunity, Google uses a structured interview grading rubric to assess prospective employees. That way, hiring managers can take detailed notes and consistently assess and compare candidates’ responses.
Creating good job descriptions
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Writing a job description is easier said than done. And to make sure hiring managers check all of the boxes, Google uses a job description checklist in order to draft the perfect job posting.
To foster a culture of equality and avoid any unconscious biases, Google makes sure employees are educated and trained on the existence of unconscious biases in the workplace. The company offers employees unbiasing workshops where they open up the topic for conversation and make sure there is a common understanding of it too. It also offers a guide to start the conversation about unconscious bias.
To ensure everyone at the company is getting treated fairly, especially in terms of pay, Google has a process to check for pay equity. Because the gender pay gap is a major problem today -- especially in Silicon Valley -- the search engine has a structure for its pay practices. It also offers a tool for analyzing pay data and looking for any signs of pay inequality. (The federal government has accused the company of pay disparities between men and women.)
As the saying goes, “You’re only as strong as your weakest link.” That’s why Google has a process for helping teams determine their needs and wants and find the best ways to improve and be more effective. It provides a team effectiveness discussion guide to help teams identify where and how they should improve. It highlights five “team dynamics” including psychological safety, dependability, structure and clarity, meaning and impact.
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