A practical plan to help mangers be better
Google have grown, so has their need to manage. This giga company has the time and resource like no other, and it is use some of that resource to invest not only in technology but inwards. As a part of that investment, the HR team embarken on some research using Google’s renound data analysis skills. Project Oxygen (so called as they see people as the life blood of the organisation) was designed to measure the impact of good managers and help the company make more of them.
The study found that a manager’s technical skills were far less valued by employees than people skills. However they are still on the list as being important.
Why do people leave their employer?
The work is based on testing the belief that people typically leave a company for one of three reasons.
- They don’t feel a connection to the mission of the company, or sense that their work matters
- They don’t really like or respect their co-workers
- They have a bad boss — This being the biggest variable
“Project Oxygen is our attempt to verify here at Google the age-old HR statement that people leave organizations because of their managers,”. “We wanted to see whether there’s a huge variance in the quality of managers and if so, what kind of impact was it having on the company?” – Director of People Analytics & Compensation Prasad Setty.
Setty and his team examined the results from Googlegeist, the company’s annual employee survey, as well as performance-management scores and other data on managers to identify good performers and poor ones.
The work started in early 2009 and training from the results commenced in 2010.
The project set out to analyze the results from performance reviews, feedback surveys, nominations for top-manager awards and other available data. Then they correlated phrases, words, praise and complaints. The results were then prioritized by importance.
So what is in the 8 point plan to help managers improve?
Just the stuff you would expect – but it is about consistency and authenticity in the way they are applied. Unlike many competency approaches, Google just share the data and help individuals, managers and teams to make sense of it. They are not forced into change, they are educated and hope that individuals see what is expected of them and learn. If they don’t in the longer term.. well that is a different story.
The 8 point plan to help managers improve
- Be a good coach
- Empower your team and don’t micromanage
- Express interest in team members’ success and personal well-being
- Don’t be a sissy: Be productive and results-oriented
- Be a good communicator and listen to your team
- Help your employees with career development
- Have a clear vision and strategy for the team
- Have key technical skills so you can help advise the team
In addition they identified 3 key manager pitfalls:
- Have trouble making a transition to the team
- Lack a consistent approach to performance management and career development
- Spend too little time managing and communicating
You can see the original list as published
Stop the fad surfing
While many of us in the world of HR & Organizational Development strive to find the “new shiny” idea, this research clearly shows that we need to keep with the basics if we really want to succeed.
A note of caution – it will be easy for a company to adopt this as a list of things for them – such have 100s of firms in the past – but remember this is GOOGLE’S data – their culture is different, so while the issue may be similar, the outcomes may be very different!
NOTE, the fact that technical skills is still on the list is an important one. Employing “professional managers2 without some technical understanding can create tensions that do not need to exist.
Based on an article from NY Times