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Over the last 20 years, it could be argued that there had been a revolution in technology and how it had affected our lives. What’s been less obvious is that there has been another quieter revolution going on in people management. Companies like Google have come out of nowhere to employ 10s of thousands of people and consistently and repeatedly win awards for their HR and top the lists of places people want to work and feedback when they get to work there. There has been a lot written on how this works and several tell-alls but the secret sauce still seems to evade outsiders.
Laszlo Bock joined Google in 2006 as head of People Operations – HR – and as such is uniquely placed to explain and to pass on the secret sauce. His book Work Rules is described on Amazon as “striking a balance between creativity and structure, leading to success you can measure in quality of life as well as market share. Read it to build a better company from within rather than from above; read it to reawaken your joy in what you do.” Bock takes us through his personal history and how Google arrived at the same place as he did.
The very very short version? Hire the right people. Get your recruitment process right and the right people will naturally do the right things. There’s an awful lot more to it than that but that’s the biggest single lesson. I’m working my way through the audiobook and if you’re at all interested in how people work and don’t work I’d highly recommend it. I’m not usually a fan of this sort of book – they can get very clichéd – but Bock’s work is an exception. One to read or listen to.