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How Google Measures and Retains Talents Essay

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Updated: Jul 7th, 2021

Introduction

Hiring professional and promising employees is a significant aspect of any organisation’s work, regardless of the focus of its activities and market priorities. For modern IT corporations where much attention is paid to the search for talented specialists, personnel management is the area that requires increased attention and assistance in promoting the principles of retaining workers. As an example of such a human resource policy, Google global corporation will be considered and, in particular, the effectiveness of its practices in measuring, identifying and retaining talented employees.

Based on the analysis of the case study on the recruiting principles of the company, it is possible to cite objective arguments and reasoning concerning the success of the methods used. As a justification base for critical evaluation, current academic research and findings in the fields of psychology and recruitment management will be utilised. Taking into account all the results of the critical assessment, recommendations may be given to Google’s management regarding the ways of developing its recruitment policy. In general, the corporation’s activities with respect to measuring, identifying and retaining talented specialists are distinguished by modern and non-standard principles, but changes in selection tools can help increase employees’ motivation and performance outcomes.

Theoretical Background

The concepts of any recruitment policy as the aspect of most large companies’ work include such procedures as measuring, identifying and retaining talented employees. In academic literature, much attention is paid to these principles since in a modern business environment, a qualified labour force is one of the factors for successful work. Wiblen (2016) considers talent as a measurable variable and argues that appropriate techniques and tools can contribute to disclosing workers’ valuable qualities. As the author remarks, a correct methodology for assessing the potential effectiveness and productivity of this or that employee can help reveal his or her strengths and determine benefits for a particular organisation (Wiblen, 2016). At the same, the validity and reliability of all the steps aimed at measuring talent should be maintained to avoid the misinterpretation of a worker’s traits. This principle-based on finding the right assessment mechanism is one of the main aspects of recruitment activities.

In order for qualified employees to start working in a particular company, it is essential to ensure their appropriate interaction with responsible persons in the organisation who, in turn, will be able to determine the potential of candidates timely. Naim and Lenka (2017) give an example of structured interviews as one of the elements of identifying talent and its subsequent use in a specific work environment. The authors assess potential employees’ behaviour during conversations and argue that in order to measure talent, it is essential to consider various factors – the speed of responses, ingenuity, and other aspects (Naim & Lenka, 2017). Also, this way of communication allows a recruiter to determine how an applicant will react to certain situations that he or she may encounter. Such an assessment method helps to obtain reliable and valuable information about the strengths and weaknesses of a particular employee and determine the degree of talent as one of the significant components of professional suitability.

Managing both small and large companies requires using current leadership practices and strategies aimed at stimulating the motivation of subordinates and their productivity. In order to retain talented employees, it is crucial to ensure appropriate working conditions and help prospective staff develop their skills. Rathi and Lee (2015) propose to pay attention to both standardised and individual measures. The first category includes those assessment techniques that provide for the comparison of personnel productivity indicators to obtain quantitative and qualitative information. This method provides for taking into account the validity and reliability of specific approaches to measuring talent. Individual measures are aimed at personal rewarding of the most able-bodied subordinates and setting specific goals and objectives to reveal applicants’ strengths experimentally. Special training tools can also be promoted to help personnel improve their skills and expand knowledge in certain areas. The proper use of both approaches may allow controlling the workflow effectively and retaining the most talented employees.

More general concepts of managing organisations and the conditions of retaining prospective employees are also discussed in academic literature. For example, Krishnan and Scullion (2017) state that “talent attraction, identification and retention issues are likely to vary at different stages” (p. 432). In addition, these practices themselves may differ depending on subordinates’ posts, the direction of enterprises’ work, market success, and other significant factors. Krishnan and Scullion (2017) also note such a criterion as the size of companies and state that institutional and resource dependency theories may be utilised to justify why production volumes affect recruiting campaigns. The nature of talent measurement mechanisms is not static, and to assess the strengths of a particular applicant, many factors need to be taken into account – the environment, a conversational manner, and other dynamic criteria. At the same time, additional psychological aspects should be taken into account, for instance, the reliability and validity of survey tools, the correlation indicators of retention and productivity, and other significant factors. These criteria may allow evaluating the effectiveness of all the activities aimed at measuring, identifying and retaining talented specialists within business organisations.

The value of promoting relevant working practices and hiring talented employees is reflected in various benefits for companies. George (2015) remarks that reasonable and properly implemented techniques for retaining highly qualified and promising specialists help reduce the cost of finding new employees and, at the same time, increase the productivity of the entire workflow. If the management of an organisation takes into account such significant criteria for evaluating the productivity of subordinates as a reaction, learning, behaviour, and results, it affects the outcomes of the company’s operating activities positively. Moreover, related indicators improve, for instance, competitiveness and customer interest, which is required for effective product sales in a market economy. Therefore, all the considered techniques and methods perform essential functions.

Problems and Issues Faced by Google Regarding Its Recruitment Policy

In order to critically evaluate the importance and relevance of strategies for measuring, identifying and retaining talented employees, a specific example is required. Based on the case study related to the recruitment policy of the world-famous Google Corporation, it is possible to assess the difficulties and issues that the management of the company has recently faced. In particular, those principles of transparency in hiring and innovative approaches to interviewing have proven that it is almost impossible to predict employee productivity based on these techniques. The principles of measuring talent did not justify themselves since, based on the indicators of validity and reliability, no experimental evidence of this method’s effectiveness was conducted. As Lee, Pak, Kim and Li (2019) note, individual recruitment programs are part of organisations’ management programs, thereby proving that many approaches to recruitment are approved by companies’ leaders. Accordingly, after finding some strategic failures, Google representatives took measures to change their interviewing regimes and relied on other models of interaction among job seekers and HR specialists. New methods have made it possible to detect gaps in previous practices and take necessary measures to eliminate them.

The standard program of hiring employees in Google previously included three stages – conversations with HR specialists, telephone interviews with job seekers, and personal meeting at the offices of the corporation. According to the results of testing and analysing the success of this practice, it was found that the outcomes of conversations did not reflect the accurate picture of employees’ further productivity. The results of the case indicate that the validity and reliability of talent measurement were not confirmed because, to obtain a comprehensive picture, evidence of the quality of the approaches utilised was necessary.

Based on the case considered, non-standard survey methods, for instance, the tasks of determining creativity, could be erroneous. According to Sutton (2015), even carefully thought-out interviews may be biased and subjective, and psychological techniques promoted by HR specialists cannot always reveal subordinates’ potential. As a result, the company may lose talented employees due to insufficiently thought-out interview strategies, and competitors may benefit from such omissions. The practice of Google proves that in such an advanced and economically powerful corporation, control over all processes is necessary. In the case study, the facts are mentioned about the temporary abandonment of managing and the negative consequences of this decision. Thus, it can be assumed that the continuous monitoring of all areas is the crucial aspect of the work of any organisation.

In order to cope with the challenges that arose, Google’s management decided on significant reorganisation procedures within the team. The specialists of the corporation developed a special action plan aimed at increasing employees’ personal responsibility for their decisions and stimulating the activity of colleagues through the manifestation of leadership qualities. Harris and DeFlaminis (2016) consider such an approach in relation to various areas, including IT technologies, and note that distributed leadership as a strategic decision concerning personnel policies can increase productiveness. Google’s missions were revised, and more attention was paid to engaging workers in promoting the corporation’s business through individual initiatives and encouraging independent decisions. However, some problems remained, and additional tactical steps may be needed.

Addressing Issues and Coping with Remaining Problems

Despite the measures taken by Google’s leaders to improve the corporate recruitment policy, the facts from the case study show that some problems still exist. For instance, assessment results indicate the third lowest job tenure in the organisation, which is a rather low indicator (Swanner, 2017). Compared with the parameters of major market competitors, Google is inferior, which has a negative effect on countering market struggles and maybe the reason for the lack of an effective recruitment policy. However, the company’s management addresses the issues and takes some successful steps that encourage employees to take responsibility for the quality of their individual operations and teamwork. The salaries of the corporation’s workers are quite high; for example, an ordinary software engineer receives $123,871 per year, which is a good result (“Google salaries,” 2019). The outcomes of interventions aimed at strengthening the corporate spirit and encouraging independent initiatives have brought some improvements and turned out to be productive. However, further steps need to be taken to increase job tenure rates and build a sustainable recruitment policy.

Recommendations Concerning Google’s Internal Issues

When taking into account the fact that the problems discussed are related to the recruitment policy to a greater extent than to other areas, certain recommendations may be given to improve this aspect. Firstly, despite a favourable microclimate and significant bonuses that are provided to the workers of the corporation (free meals, much time for rest, self-development and other benefits), some members of the company yet experience discomfort. Liu, Pencheon, Hunter, Moncrieff and Freemantle (2018) conducted a study where they evaluated retention policies at some IT companies. Among those employees who sought medical attention due to the symptoms of depression, “Google adverts recruited the highest number of participants” (Liu et al.. 2018, p. e0203127). This fact indicates that more attention should be paid to personal psychological assistance to employees of the corporation for them to cope with the workload. It may help young but talented subordinates carry out all the tasks set by the management and take appropriate initiatives wisely. Therefore, this initiative can become an effective retention solution and, at the same, a valuable supporting practice in the company.

Secondly, to improve the recruitment policy, responsible persons should conduct certain organisational work with HR specialists. In particular, the employees of this department are to be aware that their assessment of applicants’ potential performance may differ from real parameters and to avoid bias or the subjectivity of decisions, more attention should be paid to the professionalism of employees and their working qualities. As Cloutier, Felusiak, Hill and Pemberton-Jones (2015) note, the training of recruiters has a direct impact on the competitiveness of an enterprise since the strength of a team and its performance depends largely on HRs’ methods. Special seminars for the exchange of experience and the involvement of modern teaching methods may be effective tools for the training of specialists in hiring. Thus, the aforementioned recommendations can change the mode of the operation of not only one department but the corporation as a whole.

Potential Outcomes of the Recommendations

The considered recommendations will certainly bring more advantages than disadvantages since they do not carry obvious controversial consequences and unpredictable results. For instance, according to Sonnenstuhl and Trice (2018), the decision of the management to improve subordinates’ performance is natural if productivity indicators decline. Consequently, as the author’s remark, leaders develop and implement special assistant programs aimed at increasing employee motivation and adjusting their working values ​​(Sonnenstuhl & Trice, 2018). The potential disadvantage of this solution is the cost of developing special courses. However, for such a corporation as Google, short-term expenses are not a significant barrier, and all the investments can justify themselves shortly.

Regarding the recommendation of special training for HR specialists, this practice also has no significant negative consequences. Piwowar-Sulej (2017) remarks that the education of the representatives of the personnel department should imply specific working conditions maintained in an enterprise. In other words, the preparation of HRs should not contradict those immediate duties that are assigned to ordinary subordinates. The only possible drawback is too a long retraining period for recruiting specialists. However, in the conditions of reorganisation, this practice can be crucial and useful; therefore, it should not be avoided.

Possible Application of the Considered Recommendations in Other Organisations

Using the considered recommendations for retaining talented employees and improving the company’s recruitment policy with respect to other organisations is possible. The volume of changes in Google Corporation requires considerable time and financial investments. Nonetheless, in other companies, similar practices may also be permissible. In those enterprises where the insufficiently effective methods of hiring and retaining staff are supported, appropriate supporting and educational work can be useful. Perhaps, the activities on the scale of Google are superfluous. However, as Argote and Guo (2016) argue, the desire to improve the quality of individual departments’ work for the sake of increasing productivity and stimulating talented subordinates’ activities work is a reasonable leadership decision. For comparison, the global brand Coca-Cola can be analysed in the context of these recommendations. Both the technical and intellectual bases of the corporation are extensive, and the talent of the staff is a significant selection criterion. The training of HR specialists in Coca-Cola aimed at selecting valuable personnel and measure their skills can help boost sales and strengthen the brand power through workers’ high productivity. Therefore, there are no obstacles to introducing similar initiatives in other organisations.

Conclusion

The approaches of Google’s management to measuring, identifying and retaining talented specialists differ from many other principles promoted by organisations as personnel policies. However, when analysing a special case study, some issues were discovered that affected the productivity of employees and related to insufficiently effective recruitment methods. Based on the assessment of the considered methods of working with the staff, it can be noted that some HRs’ forecasts do not justify themselves and cannot provide a comprehensive picture of subordinates’ performance in the future. In order to correct these challenges and increase certain indicators of the company’s activities, in particular, its job tenure, some recommendations were given. Assistance to employees to maintain comfortable working conditions and stimulate their motivation is a crucial leadership task. Also, special educational training programs can be conducted with HRs to increase their literacy regarding the policy of measuring, identifying and retaining talented employees. The advantages of these proposals are their universality and the absence of serious negative results for Google. Moreover, such recommendations can be applied to other organisations; therefore, their significance is evident.

References

Argote, L., & Guo, J. M. (2016). Routines and transactive memory systems: Creating, coordinating, retaining, and transferring knowledge in organizations. Research in Organizational Behavior, 36, 65-84. Web.

Cloutier, O., Felusiak, L., Hill, C., & Pemberton-Jones, E. J. (2015). The importance of developing strategies for employee retention. Journal of Leadership, Accountability & Ethics, 12(2), 119-129.

George, C. (2015). Retaining professional workers: What makes them stay? Employee Relations, 37(1), 102-121. doi:10.1108/ER-10-2013-0151

(2019). Web.

Harris, A., & DeFlaminis, J. (2016). Distributed leadership in practice: Evidence, misconceptions and possibilities. Management in Education, 30(4), 141-146. Web.

Krishnan, T. N., & Scullion, H. (2017). Talent management and dynamic view of talent in small and medium enterprises. Human Resource Management Review, 27(3), 431-441. Web.

Lee, H. W., Pak, J., Kim, S., & Li, L. Z. (2019). Effects of human resource management systems on employee proactivity and group innovation. Journal of Management, 45(2), 819-846. Web.

Liu, Y., Pencheon, E., Hunter, R. M., Moncrieff, J., & Freemantle, N. (2018). Recruitment and retention strategies in mental health trials – A systematic review. PloS One, 13(8), e0203127. Web.

Naim, M. F., & Lenka, U. (2017). Talent management: A burgeoning strategic focus in Indian IT industry. Industrial and Commercial Training, 49(4), 183-188. Web.

Piwowar-Sulej, K. (2017). Achieving HR function consistency as a challenge for HR practitioners in project-oriented organizations. Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management, 15(3), 194-203.

Rathi, N., & Lee, K. (2015). Retaining talent by enhancing organizational prestige: An HRM strategy for employees working in the retail sector. Personnel Review, 44(4), 454-469. Web.

Sonnenstuhl, W. J., & Trice, H. M. (2018). Strategies for employee assistance programs: The crucial balance (2nd ed.). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Sutton, A. (2015). Work psychology in action. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Swanner, N. (2017). Dice. Web.

Wiblen, S. (2016). Framing the usefulness of eHRM in talent management: A case study of talent identification in a professional services firm. Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences/Revue Canadienne des Sciences de l’Administration, 33(2), 95-107. Web.

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