HRM at Google: The empirical way to employee satisfaction.

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Google is not only one of the most profitable companies worldwide, but also the most popular with graduates wanting to start their career. In fact, the elected few seem to enter a “happiness machine” as Farhad Manjoo analyzes in an article for “Slate”.
The salaries and perks like Gourmet meals, Wi-Fi commuting shuttles, meditation seminars or on-line laundries have fascinated the public for long as the visible signs of the culture in which Google embeds its staff. Farhad Manjoo gives a detailed account of the department “people operations” responsible for what is traditionally called human relations management (HRM). Google is famous for taking an empirical and experimental approach to its products, and employs such methodological rigor also with regard to its staff. Extensive quarterly employee surveys with a tool named “Googlegeist” form the backbone of getting insight into the state of the human side of the company. In addition, whenever possible decisions are prepared by gathering empirical data. What is the right text for an email? Increase salaries by paying a bonus or raising base pay? Which working schedule and payment package is best suited to keep young mothers and fathers in the company? The answers to such questions are sought in empirical micro-studies which go down to details like the length of lines, the plates offered and the form of tables in cafeterias.
Google has the advantage of being able to select the highest level of professionals in many fields due to its reputation as a tech leader. However, its “people operations” show that it is not money and perks alone which motivates people to stay. Many companies have started to integrate more methodology into their HRM operations, but only few do it to the level that Google does. Employee surveys have become a standard tool, but their insights are rarely exploited. Google exemplifies the possibility of fabricating at least some happiness in a methodological way. Such knowledge is even more important for companies lacking celebrity status.