This month we had four articles that drew the attention of our daily buzz readers appearing on TLNT, Business Insider, HRZone and Quartz. Not surprisingly, they were about Google, Facebook, Netflix and Zappos. So what are the takeaways and what can other employers learn from these pioneering and much talked about organisations?
Let’s start with Google, a company synonymous with continuous innovation. As most know, Google doesn’t tend to do things by chance. Quite the contrary, the company makes calculated decisions in everything it does, including HR. Basically, Google uses people analytics to steer their people management practices. All their decisions are based on what data reveals and nothing is decided purely on gut feeling or done according to the old school HR practice of relationship building. Google has a scientific approach to everything from improving retention, diversity, workplace collaboration to hiring algorithms of what type of candidate has the highest probability to succeed. In short, nothing is left by chance.
Companies such as Facebook and Dropbox use what they call searchlight meetings as a sourcing approach to finding new talent. They are short, informal and fun meetings where employees make hiring suggestions to the HR staff. Yes, long gone are the days where your HR department spams the entire company, by begging its employees to recommend people they know for an open position. Instead, companies should get people together, chat and make their referral program an event. One could imagine that the best new hire comes from a referral, as a top talent should know other top talent. According to Business Insider a referral produces 25% more profit and is 20% less likely to quit in comparison to a normal hire. Jokes aside, we should ask Google if that’s true.
Be honest and simply follow this advice: “Say it, how it is!” Netflix produced a document that revealed the company’s corporate philosophy and approach to managing people, an authentic and no nonsense guide to what the company stands for. It might not be to the taste of everyone, but that is precisely the point – Netflix isn’t trying to appeal to the average person. Quite the opposite, Netflix is looking for a particular breed of employee. Thus, stop or avoid candy coating everything and show your true colours.
Lastly, there is Zappos that gets mentioned in the HR trade media quite frequently for its innovative ways of running its business. Just recently there was an article that reported that Zappos has gotten rid of job titles, managers and its hierarchy and has implemented what is now called a Holacracy, something which replaces the top-down model and distributes power across the organization. Is it absolute madness? Or is it a clever way to give more autonomy to the people on the floor? One of the core ideas of a Holacracy is to make people take personal accountability for their work and give them the flexibility to pursue what they are passionate about. Moreover, it’s meant to overcome the limitations of more conventional structures that can create bottlenecks and hinder quick decision-making.
If you are an employer looking for some inspiration, maybe one or all of the above ideas is worth testing. Sometimes you need to shake things up a little in order for progress to happen; nothing new will come from maintaining the status quo. Challenge yourself and challenge your organization. If you’re like Google, make a calculated decision, but ensure that you make one: measure performance, retention, hiring practices… and identify what works best. Searchlight meetings are an easy thing to implement, so why not start today. Be like Netflix – honesty is always the best policy. And for Zappos, you might not want to rid the organization of its management but think of ways of giving more power to your people in order for them to fulfil their dreams and ambitions. If you wish to excel in your profession, it’s important to be curious, to question and to look for inspiration from the world that surrounds you.