Over the holidays I discovered that we, everyday HR pro’s, share more similar HR problems with Google then you would think.
According to this article, many current and former Googlers have a lot of gripes about the company. Now some of this stuff (“everyone is overqualified”) is not a typical HR issue but the article does highlight some complaints that may sound familiar: lack of diversity and bad managers.
The lack of diversity in the tech sector has been a huge discussion point in the last couple of years and this article only adds to that discussion with these quotes:
- “They hire the same person over and over again.”
- “Stepford Engineers”
Even if your company doesn’t have an active diversity program, who doesn’t struggle to find candidates with diverse skills and experience? In a year where many were stunned by the election of Donald Trump, its more important than ever to get out of our bubbles.
Reading through the list of Google employee gripes about their managers I couldn’t help but get that “Groundhog day” feeling:
- Middle Management is political and uninspiring: ” They don’t want to rock the boat, they don’t know how to inspire their workforce, and they rely far too much on the Google name and reputation to do that for them.”
- “People are promoted into management positions — not because they actually know how to lead/manage, but because they happen to be smart”
Forget you are reading an article about Google and some of these comments start to look like comments from your own employee survey. Maybe we shouldn’t feel so bad about the same problems we see in our organizations? After all, if Google can’t fix it, who expects us to?
It’s not “okay” that your retail team looks like a Hitler youth group.
It’s also NOT okay that you still haven’t addressed the tyrannical Managers in your company.
The issues of leadership and diversity in the workplace are difficult problems to solve. If Google, with tons of data, resources and money is struggling, it’s not surprising that the rest of us with limited resources haven’t fixed these same problems at our organizations.
BUT Those of us in smaller, less complex organizations (which is probably many of my readers), do have a significant advantage over Google because we are smaller and less complex. It’s much easier to test diversity initiatives, management training programs, recruiting programs, social media, etc;, at smaller organizations. There is less buy-in to obtain and less cost.
So yea, Google struggles with the same management and diversity issues that you do, but you don’t get off easy either. You have a lot more room to get creative.
Also published on Medium.