Thursday, March 24, 2011

This Just In

By now, I would guess that the article that was in the New York Times
a couple of weeks ago that went by the catchy and attention grabbing headline of  Google's Quest to Build a Better Boss has probably been passed around every HR department in the continental U.S. along with as Walter Winchell used to say "...and all the ships at sea."

In addition to that, after they read it, there are probably a lot of pretty big-name consulting firms that are wringing their hands thinking that their cover has been blown, and that their 2011 revenue forecasts are going to go down in flames because an icon organization has discovered for itself something that has been known to anyone who is been in the working world since time began had discovered after a couple of weeks on the job - i.e. at the end of the day when someone decides to leave it is more likely that they are leaving because of their boss then anything else.

If for some reason you were so totally absorbed in March madness that you actually did not read this piece, for anyone who's interested in what retention is really all about its well worth the 10 minutes or so to check it out.

On the off chance that you don't have the 10 minutes or you don't want to read it because you figure Google has done it to us yet once again and I don't dare, you can breathe easier because after thousands of hours of data gathering in an effort to determine what really does make managers better, they have come to the earth shattering conclusion that among other things, demonstrating genuine interest in the people who work for you is like really important.  It's enough to leave one speechless in amazement.

So as I said, if you don't have time to read all, here are a couple of CliffNotes from the article:

People typically leave a company for one of three reasons, or a combination of them.

The first is that they don’t feel a connection to the mission of the company, or sense that their work matters.

The second is that they don’t really like or respect their co-workers.

The third is they have a terrible boss — and this was the biggest variable.

Google, where performance reviews are done quarterly, rather than annually, saw huge swings in the ratings that employees gave to their bosses, and this was the biggest variable.  
Armed with these shocking data I can now understand why the picture of Google's head of People Operations Laszlo Bock (see above) shows him "recovering".  After all, it had to have taken some time for him to absorb such a profound revelation.

The list of what in today's vernacular might be termed "best practices" reads as the article says " a whiteboard gag from an episode of “The Office.”  An apt description for sure.

Okay, I know that the cynicism is beginning to pile up here at a fairly rapid pace, but I really can't seem to help myself.

To be honest, as I have reflected on this for the past couple of weeks I've been trying to figure out if there really was any kind of a redeeming "learning" or take away from the work that Google did.

I'm not sure there is other than it's nice to have confirmed yet once again that what is commonly referred to as the Golden Rule has been and continues to be the key driver of what makes each of us decide to stay or leave.

So there you have it!  Keep this in mind and you can save your company some big time bucks on consulting fees, and if you're a manager, yourself a lot of grief.

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