Culture and the Company It Keeps

In January, I will be hosting a seminar discussing “How to Create a Killer Culture,” and thought it would be apropos to start the mind working in that direction.  I recently watched the “Best Practice HR Tips from Liane Hornsey, Google VP Operations”.  Laine and her interviewer do a fabulous job of demonstrating how effective it can be when a company creates their “ideal” cultural values; lives by those values; and assesses performance based on those values.  Ms. Hornsey describes the reputation of Google as a place where people want to be: “it doesn’t happen by accident, it is by design.”  She went on to describe the ideal values within the Google culture, which seem complex at a glance… and it all begins with their famous lengthy hiring practices.  Where Laine went through 14 interviews (across multiple countries), she has shored that up to now be between 4-8 interviews.  They use 360-degree hiring tools which essentially allow for assessing how upper management, peers, and employees of that individual will all work together.  A separate Culture and Change Management Survey conducted in 2013 showed that only 53% of businesspeople view culture as an important part of the leadership agenda at their company…yet only 35% agreed that their management does an effective job of managing culture.  However, when listening to Laine, I was completely convinced that Google has Culture Management handled.  They have a clear understanding of expectations (informal dress code and work hours, formal decision-making); which are evaluated and adjusted on a daily basis.  She describes the approach to their management as “common sense” in how they balance management layers; allow for promotion rotation to develop skills and increase knowledge of the team; and create expectations based on time in a position.  What resonated the most with me what how they focus on results (output) rather than hours worked in a day.

As my mind is decompressing the 11+ minutes I spent with Laine Hornsey, I do wonder what the employees think. Does Google really live this culture on a daily basis? Does your company have an outline of their cultural values? How do you keep that alive?

–Laura Brand


About HR Laura

I work in tandem with business owners and executives to minimize risk and increase compliance. My expertise is in all things HR: compliance, Risk Management, Benefits, Affordable Care Act, Worker's Compensation, State Unemployment, and Team Training and Development, and Recruiting

Posted on December 31, 2013, in Culture and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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