PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT VS STRATEGIC HRM AT GOOGLE
13th, March, 2013
Strategic Human Resources Management (SHRM) is key to successful performance of a company. Unlike HRM, SHRM attaches company goals to the HR practices. Google Inc. is known in the world today for the adoption of a successful SHRM, which has boosted its productivity. In 2008, people in Britain voted Google as the best company to work for. The company management emphasized that Google’s effectiveness depends on the commitment of the management to ensure continued employee motivation, as well as employee retention (Girad 2009). McGregor in his theory Y notes that people have potential; therefore, motivation by management is key in realizing employees’ potentials, which will work in favor of the company (McGregor 1960). Therefore, by motivating its employees, Google makes them realize their potential, which they use in the company.
Google Inc. values hiring and recruitment process, and considers this its cornerstone. The company takes time to recruit and select qualified and well performing candidates. Therefore, hiring the right people is of essence in Google. Google has a centralized team in charge of recruitment, which is made up of specialists. The ‘disruptive’ approach in recruitment is used to obtain the best employees. In addition, Google developed the ‘recruiting’ machine, which helps in job categorization. This has a breakdown of company requirements of employees, from the senior positions to lower positions. The ‘People Operation’ is how Google refers to its HRM team, who use the ‘Applicant Tracking System’ in recruitment. Therefore, Google has developed various best practice tools for its recruitment. The interviewing process at Google is intensive, with four rounds of interviews. This rigorous process is a strategy that ensures the best candidates are selected, for high company performance (Girad 2009).
Google is also known for its commendable compensation structure. Incentives for employees include both financial and non-financial, including sick leaves and death benefits. In addition, employee development through trainings is offered. Compensation in form of salaries is higher compared to other companies, including Yahoo, and Microsoft. Nonetheless, this strategy has been successful in motivating employees. Herzberg identified financial and non-financial incentives among his ‘hygiene’ factors, which lead to employees’ job satisfaction (Herzberg 1957). In addition, the performance-based compensation in Google encourages employees to work productively. In the expectancy theory of Vroom (1964), employees might choose to work effectively, if they will be looking forward to some form of reward.
Flexible working hours, where Google employees are allowed to work 70 percent of their time, and utilize remaining 30 percent on their creative projects. This strategy has enabled the development of new features and applications, such as Gmail (Duthel 2008). This also shows the importance of teamwork, since employees are required to spend this time in teams. Therefore, the SHRM adopted by Google has made the employees to be the competitive advantage of the company, and has increased company productivity.
Weaknesses of Google’s SHRM
The weakness of Google’s SHRM lies in its hiring process. Many have argued that this process is too long and tiring, thus consuming the time of both the candidates and company. This period lasts between 1-4 months, thus is inconvenient.
It is challenging for the company to monitor the progress of new employees because of its big number of employees. Additionally, Google is hesitant on having permanent employees. This bars the company from having experienced employees.
The work culture at Google is dynamic. This does not allow for the HR function of performance management and employee skill development, as employees change responsibilities from time to time. Additionally, Google hires candidates based on their academic grades, and not prior work experience.
Google should reduce the time taken on the hiring process. It is important to borrow from other companies, which have shorter recruitment period but obtain qualified candidate. A long recruitment period could influence the company negatively, and drive away potential candidates.
Google should cut down its employee number. This will help in easier monitoring of employee performance, and fast decision-making in the company. Additionally, if Google would employ its employees permanently, this would save the company revenue used to train new employees.
Google should adopt a stable work culture. This will allow employees to develop skills in their areas of responsibility. Google should also consider hiring those candidates with prior work experience, as this cuts down on training costs.
Old Personnel HRM
New Strategic HRM
|Google Inc. used the traditional approach in its recruitment and selection. This common ‘intuition’ approach presented pressure of lawsuits, trade unions, among others.||Google adopted a more scientific approach in its recruitment and selection process. Today, Google uses a data-based approach in selecting potential employees, which is much easier.|
|Employees focus was on work only, and no time was availed for talent development in the company.||Talent management is adopted to increase innovation and creativity of employees|
|Learning was restricted to the traditional classroom learning level only.||Increased innovation and learning, including hands-on learning, project rotations, learning from mistakes, and learning from guest speakers.|
|Employees focused on work only. Teamwork was limited, and fun for employees was not part of the HRM strategy. This kills innovation.||Increased collaboration among employees, as they work on projects in teams. This is in addition to fun management, as employees are allowed to have fun while working.|
Table 1: Comparison between the old way of HR and the new way of strategic HRM at Google Inc
Duthel, H 2008, Google Inc. Services – Google Tools – What Is Google? Lulu.com, New York.
Girad, B 2009, The Google Way: How One Company Is Revolutionizing Management as We Know It, No Starch Press, New Jersey.
Herzberg, F., Mausner, B. and Snyderman, B 1959, The Motivation to Work (2nd ed.), John
Wiley, New York.
McGregor, D 1960, The human side of enterprise, McGraw-Hill, London.
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