Talent Management Framework: Human Resources, Role, and Strategies at Google Inc

Organizations have continued to grow and adapt to the digital era. This era has observed changes in how organizations management human capital and the role of human resources management. One rising trend can be observed in talent management. Researchers define talent management as, “an organizations commitment to recruit, retain, and develop the most talented and superior employees available in the job market”, (Heathfield, 2010). Decades earlier, talent management was not an issue in many organizations. There were many talented, educated, and skilled workers to choose from and there was little competition. However, in today’s world, social, industrial, and political changes can be observed. Fewer women are stay at home mothers. They are likely to be more educated than their male counterparts while men are today more family oriented. This, and other causes, has dramatically shifted the role of human resources managers. “Accelerating retirement of baby boomers, lower birth rates, increased competition for skilled workers worldwide stagnant college graduate rates, declining competency in basic skills such as math and writing by high school and even college graduates are all contributing to the impeding talent shortage in the knowledge economy”, (Benko and Weisbert, 2007). To combat this labor shortage, human resources must develop and implement talent management strategies. This will save the organization cost in employee retention and increase productivity and innovations for organizational success. Talent management allows human resources to create a strategy that will recruit and retain the finest employees society has to offer. As a result, this makes human resources responsible for the process and ongoing strategies to find and hold on to employees that meet the current and future needs of a growing organization.

Google and Talent Management

“Strategic human capital management is the most powerful lever for innovation and growth in today’s knowledge economy”, (Husser, 2010). In this manner, talent management is the channel HRM use to achieve this goal. Google is one such organization that has proven to be a leader in employee recruitment and retention through strategies developed by HRM and corporate management. Google is an internet enterprise and popular internet search engine for web surfers around the world. Their dynamic strategy of employee recruitment and retention is due to many factors. Recruitment and employee retention is an intricate part of their corporate culture. “Recruiting and the need for it permeates’ the entire organization, from the key leaders on down to the entry level employees”, (Google Talent, 2006). The organization is speculated to spend billions in employee benefits and recruitment strategies. Google employees have unprecedented benefits packages that include unlimited sick leave, on-site haircuts, free shuttle service, free daycare, and free meals and snacks. Google incentives are unmatched by no other. Google employees are allowed to spend a percentage of their work hour to develop ideas and innovation to meet the current and future demands of the industry. The organization also supports educational and leadership programs for employees and opportunities to address management with their ideas and concerns. “In this strategic environment, talent acquisition, empowerment, and innovation are moving to center stage, and a new business-driven, human capital specialization is forming to create and execute strategies that drive growth, profitability, and value creation”, (Husser, 2010).

The organization recognizes the importance of talent management for business continuity. “People and talent are the only sustainable advantage in the global knowledge economy”, (Google, 2012). In addition, the Google has stressed this throughout the organization. They have implemented employee retention strategies into corporate culture and invest heavily to recruit and retain human capital. Their current Talent Strategy Management System “is based on 3 pillars for maximum benefits: People, Principles, and Process”, (Google, 2012). People, represents the individuals that are directly involved in talent management. This includes the workforce, HR, and managers. Principles, are corporate talent strategy, goals, themes, and objectives. Process, indicates strategic review and HR governance. However, to achieve organizational goals and continuity, Google must develop and implement a strategic talent management model. A well developed and implemented talent management strategy will help Google recruit and retain the most talented and skilled individuals in the industry. Talented employees are necessary for Google to maintain a competitive advantage and sustain their goals.

Mass Career Customization Model

A suggested model for a global enterprise such as Google Inc. is the Mass Career Customization Model or MCC. MCC is a talent management model that can produce positive results for an organization such as Google. The model is suggested for a large global enterprise that is untraditional and willing to invest in talent management to recruit and retain human capital. “MCC is an individually customizable scalable system designed to align workplace needs with today’s nontraditional workforce and also to meet the challenges of the major long term trends affecting the talent market”, (Benko and Weisberg, 2007) Google already works to accommodate their employees by exceptional incentive programs and benefits packages. The open culture at Google makes it easy for low level employees to approach management addressing either general concerns or innovative ideas. As a result, MCC will be an effective management model for an industry such as Google Inc. It allows employees to choose their role, responsibility, and future within the organization. MCC is “a structured response that allows employers and all employees to partner in designing and customizing their career path”, (Benko and Weisberg, 2007).

The MCC framework is characterized into four areas:

  • Pace
  • Workload
  • Location/Schedule
  • Role

Incidentally, Google Inc. currently has some of these models in place. However, developing these themes, individualizing them, and customizing them to each employee, Google can better manage and navigate potential employees and current employees. In addition, this model will help HRM develop a strategy for employee’s success within the organization. The major design of the MCC model is provide options and opportunities for employees based of the four characteristics listed above. The employee will then suggest a level of Pace, Workload, Location/Schedule, and Role within the organization. It allows the employee and employee to create expectations, objectives, and future with the company.

Pace, “addresses how quickly an employee is slated to progress to increasing levels of responsibility and authority”, (Banko and Weisberg, 2007). In this category, the employee will rate the “pace” or production or quantity of work produced. A healthy individual who has been in his position for a significant amount of time is more likely to suggest a pace that is high. However, in an instance where the employee is a pregnant woman, than this may possibly reduce her work pace. This is the same for an individual who is a new entrant either in the position or in the industry. These individuals may not want, or be expected, to work at a high work pace.

Workload demonstrates the “quantity of work performed”, (Banko and Weisberg, 2007). This indicates the amount of work that an employee will take on in the given day, work week, or month. Google, currently has a strategy for this. This can be observed in their “20% work” program where employees are able to use 20% of their time working on different organizational projects. However, utilizing it in this framework will help Google better develop and retain the employee. Here the employee can customize his workload and the amount of work he is capable to perform. This will reduce employee stress, it allows employees to better communicate with management and HR, and improve employee satisfaction. An individual may request an increased workload due to his skill and productivity. In the instance of a woman expecting, she may choose to change or modify her workload due to her condition.

Location/Schedule refers to when and where work gets done. This is a strategy to help accommodate the employee. Google currently has a strategy such as this in place. Google employees are allowed to work both at home or in the office. To add further convenience, they offer home shuttle services, transportation vouchers, and new car incentives. The on-site day care program also accommodates parents with young children to help with scheduling difficulties. However, utilizing the MCC model Google can use a plan already in place to help employees customize their schedule. It will allow employees to modify their schedule and work location between home and the office to better suit their lifestyle and household. This is good for both students, parents, and others needing special arrangements. It will allow HR to better ascertain an employee’s role within the organization. Employees who are returning to school can develop a framework that not only fits their schedule but also their goals once school is over. It can create a relationship between employer and employee giving him opportunities within the company. This way HRM can customize a retention strategy for the employee.

Role is the “category of an employee’s position, job description, and responsibilities”, (Benko and Weisberg, 2007). As indicated earlier, the framework encourages communication been management, HRM, and the employee. Here, the employee can suggest an increase in his role and responsibility within the organization or a change in position in within the organization. He may also re-establish his present role and responsibilities. The individual may want to change role in the company. In this instance HRM can offer direction and guidance. This includes opportunities such as mentorship or training programs. Allowing the employee to communicate with HRM and customize the framework to the individual, Google can observe higher employee retention, cultivation, and loyalty.

Consequently, the Mass Career Customization model is a framework that can work best for an industry such as Google. Google already has some of these strategies currently in place. However, applying these strategies to the MCC model can allow Google to meet its objectives to talent management. The organization offers a list of benefits unmatched by other organizations and employees are moderately compensated. This causes talented employees to join their competitors. In the MCC framework, “employees and their managers partner to customize careers by selecting the option along each of the 4 dimensions that most closely matches the employees career objectives, keeping in mind their life circumstances and the needs of the business at any given point in time”, (Benko and Weisberg, 2007). This then becomes a joint effort between HRM and employees when it comes to talent management and employee retention. MCC is a strategic model that can be changed over time. As the employee experiences life changes, the organization can adjust his role, workload, pace, and location/schedule within the organization. These modifications can then be adjusted to meet organizational business objective. The model also allows HRM to asses employees as well. Employees who express low rates on all four categories, then this may suggest that the employee is not fit for the organization. Thus, “providing option value gives employees confidence that they will have the ability to customize their engagement levels with their employers and… gives employers a competitive advantage in attracting talent and is a powerful retention tool”, (Benko and Weisberg, 2007).

Sourcing Strategies

Sourcing is defined as, “any and all activates whose primary purpose is talent discovery and identification”, (Belt, 2012). There are varies avenues that HRM can take to find talent. Talent management is fundamental for business continuity including developing new innovations and a competitive advantage. Therefore finding talent that fit the needs of the organization is consequential. There are various ways HRM can recruit talent. In the digital era, many of these sources include the internet and social media. However, some analyst suggests that some organization rely too heavily on this method. They find this way of sourcing passive. Talented and highly skilled potential employees may be difficult to find at random. HRM must develop different, original, and creative methods to obtain talent. Research conducted by Belt found that most organization recruit talent from either job post 45%, web searches 22%, or career search engines 22%, (2012). Social networking also plays a role in sourcing. In the digital era, many sourcing strategies are evolved around information technology and the World Wide Web. This can have advantages as well as setbacks. Many organizations use the internet as the primary sourcing environment. “Ultimately searching the internet is largely an effort in garbage shifting…it is a passive sourcing strategy offer[ing] absolutely no control over candidate qualifications and only attracts the smallest percentage of available talent”, (Belt, 2012).

One strategy is to shift out passive and non-job seekers. These candidates can be found and avoided. When searching resume databases, one study found that most resumes that were posted within 30 days were passive applicants. The figure indicates that 66% of these applicants are passive or non-job seekers, (Belt, 2012). Furthermore, some resume search databases suggest that, “there are more passive candidates in resume databases like Monster by volume than active candidates”, (Belt, 2012). While some may assume that these individuals are high potential candidates, in actuality they have little to no interest or unwilling to commit to a position with the organization. Filtering out this population is necessary in talent management. It can save time and cost for HRM, instead utilizing strategies to find high potential candidates.

Old resumes are a creative and resourceful strategy to talent management. When coming across an individual who meet the needs and requirements of the organization and the position, many recruiters do not consider old resumes. This includes resumes that are at length between one and three years old. Many in HRM do not reflect on the increased potential of these individuals. Over the length of time the individual may have gain experience and education. These are qualities that would only add to the outdated resume. Therefore, there is no harm in taking the time to reach out to these individuals. “Old resumes are not worthless and no one should care if they are out of date– the person behind the resume still exists, they now have more experience and you have their actionable data (phone and email)”, (Belt, 2012).

Google uses a large variety of recruitment strategies to find and obtain talent. Many of these tools include, “employee referral, college recruitment, professional networking, recruiter trainers, ad-word search engines, contests, brain teasers, and Friends of Google”, (Google Talent, 2006). These include sourcing that are both online and offline. By recruiting and managing talent from different sources and avenues, Google is able to find and develop talented candidates for their enterprise. However, sourcing and talent management is fundamental to HRIS. Many resumes and potential candidate information is stored in data systems. The way the HRM manages and utilizes this data can play a significant role in talent management. This includes sourcing. “Through analysis data yields information which can provide knowledge which in turn can provide insight and the ability to make informed, data-based decisions”, (Belt, 2012). Data can be obtained from current and potential employees that help HRM realize the important things to look for in their talent driven enterprise. Information can be obtained that can improve sourcing strategies. Therefore HRM can utilize data information strategically to understand the significant qualities of talent such as their experience and ideals.

Acquisition Strategies

Organizations such as Google have continued to develop acquisition strategies. Acquisition strategies can be described as “a cycle and a related set of processes that are intended to continually raise the bar on the level of talent coming into an organization”, (Rivera, 2011). This can be specifically observed in their employee benefits package and incentive programs. Google is known and recognized worldwide as an organization that cares about its employees. The extensive programs, offers, and incentives entice many prospective and potential candidates. Employees, while at work, have the option to play video games, clean their clothes, or even go swimming. There are many exceptional benefits to working at Google. CEOs and HR director Stacy Sullivan “have literally crafted every professional job and workplace element so that all employees are working on interesting projects, learning continuously, constantly challenged to do more, and feeling that they are adding value”, (Google Talent, 2006).

A company such as Google should implement other strategies that will consequently improve sourcing and recruitment. These include:

  • Enhancing company brand and reputation in recruiting market
  • Proactively searching for and communicating with potential candidates
  • Marketing through new means
  • Emphasizing strategic workforce planning
  • Improving candidate pre-screening
  • Assess the performance of new hires at specific intervals the first year of employment establish and sustain retention, (Talent Acquisition, 2008).

As indicated earlier, Google has already developed a strategy to improve their reputation. They are known and recognized worldwide for their excellent incentives and benefits package. In addition, Google has also taken proactive measures to “market through means”. Google utilizes strategies such as contest and brain teasers to reach out to talented candidates. In addition, through a program called, “friends of google”. It is a program for Google fans. It also is a pool of potential candidates. As a result, Google fans also have the opportunity to come in contact with HRM representatives. Fans are like-minded individuals that support Google products, services, and innovations. These are people who can help improve the Google brand by becoming employees of the industry in one of their many departments. “The key element of changing the work so that the work itself becomes critical attraction and retention force and drive for innovation and motivation”, (Google Talent, 2006).

In talent management, HRM must consistently work to recruit and retain employees. To do this, Google has established an HRM governance to manage all employees and potential employees worldwide. HRM is split into separating roles to ensure that strategies are being implementing and recruitment ongoing. Their distinctive roles include recruiting researching analyst, candidate developers, candidate screeners, specialized recruiters for college, specialized recruiters for technology and leadership executive research, specialized international recruiters, recruiting program managers, and recruiting project managers”, (Google Talent, 2006). Through their HRM governance structure, and the current unique and creative strategies utilized through the organization, Google is doing what it can to meet the goals and objectives of talent management. As many as 90% of Google employees stay with the organization the duration of their career, (2009). Google provides, incentives, benefits packages, and isn’t afraid to invest heavily in their human capital. The organization understands the importance of talent acquisition and talent management. Many Google employees are loyal to the organization because of these efforts. Therefore, “the HR strategy fits perfectly with the business model and vision at Google- where in employees are attracted not to the short term monetary returns from work, but rather a support system that can help them create anything”, (Gupta, 2009).

Talent Retention Strategies

For organizations to sustain the talent recruited to the organization, they must develop and implement strategies to do this. This includes:

  • Recruiting the right people
  • Improving the managers ability to manage
  • Give employees constant feedback concerning their goals
  • Empower Employees to manage their own career
  • Continuously measure and improve retention strategies, (Talent Retention, 2012).

 

Google Inc. has the drive, the professionals, and the funds to develop and implement and a unique strategy to meet organizational objectives. The organization has already established a learning and leadership development program. In this way, Google promotes and encourages learning. Only through learning and education can employees be motivated to create innovative ideas. They will have the ability to take their ideas and make them reality through programs such as this. It teaches employees how to take these things learned through their program and apply it to the workforce. “Google would assign promising young product managers career and management couches who would teach them how to negotiate better salaries, improve their presentation skills, or talk through the reasons why someone should or should not leave”, (Walker, 2012). In this way, not only are employees receiving constructive feedback, they are also given the opportunity to manage their career.

Google has also demonstrated its ability to manage their talent. Not only is there a well-established and organized HRM, the organization improves the manager’s ability to manage. The organization isn’t structured in a triangle tier with managers and supervisors dominating the top. The organizational structure is horizontal. In this manner, the culture does not mandate the employees submit to the demands of management due to their title. Managers are often nominated into their position by their peers and their respect is earned by their leadership qualities and potential. In addition Google, “uses employee reviews of managers-similar to instructor reviews that college students fill out at the end of the semester-to suggest courses to managers”, (Walker, 2012). This ensures that management is meeting their objective and HRM to doing what it can to retain its employees. Employee satisfaction is fundamental to employee retention. Ensuring that employees have a voice and their needs are being addressed and assist HRM in talent management.

Although Google has high retention and employee satisfaction rates, there are downsides to their current approach and strategy to talent management and HRM. Implementing large and extensive employee packages and benefits are not only costly but also expensive. Therefore, it has the danger to attract the wrong people. “Talented individuals who are seeking benefits rather than an opportunity to do their best work… creates a screening challenge”, (Google Talent, 2006). As a result, HRM must properly screen employees through a stringent application and screening process. The person hired by Google must meet the requirements and profile of Google employees and fit comfortable into corporate culture. This includes people who are bothered by Google’s interest in creating equal opportunities for their gay and lesbian employees or uninterested in creativity and innovations. As a result, managers must utilize strategic information systems when hiring employees. With such a large, extensive, and unique employee benefits package, Google has a habit of “spending big bucks on projects that don’t pan out as well as hoped”, (La Monica, 2012). Through talent management and strategic HRM, managers are able to better assess the employee for the position. It also helps managers realize when to pull the plug on a program that is ineffective and funneling cost or profits. The use of HRIS in the field of human resources has a considerable and dynamic effect on how managers implement their strategic plan as well as determine its effectiveness within the organization. Despite these setbacks, Google remains to be a leader and innovator in recruitment and retention. Although Google still has “lots of growth potential”… “as long as Google remains the undisputed leader in search, it’s hard to quibble with any of the decisions made by Google”, (La Monica, 2012).

Conclusion

“Google believes whole heartedly in sourcing the best talent that is furiously sought after by competitors, every element of the recruiting function is abundantly staffed with highly focused professionals”, (Google Talent, 2006). In addition to this, they are unafraid to invest heavily in their human capital. Understanding the recognizing the importance and the future of talent management, Google has taken unprecedented leadership. They developed a retention strategy that implicates their goals to recruit and retain the best. Outstanding benefits packages and service incentives encourage and stimulate potential candidates. In addition, they recruit candidate from a variety of sourcing that include both information technology and old methods that provide a pool of employees sometimes unfound by others in the industry. Talent management is the tool and strategy for HRM as the roles, scope, and responsibility of HRM continue to grow. In a society where talented employees are difficult to come by, Google is doing what I can to sustain for the future. This can only be done by developing and implementing strategies of talent management through the role and function of HRM.

 

 

References

Belt, B. (2012, April 09). The current and future state of talent sourcing. Retrieved from http://www.booleanblackbelt.com/2012/04/the-current-and-future-state-of-talent-sourcing-2/

 Benko, C., & Weisberg, A. (2007). Implementing a corporate career lattice: The mass career customization model. Harvard Business School Press35(5), 29-36. Retrieved from http://www.masscareercustomization.com/extras/strategy_and_leadership.pdf

 Google business and talent strategy. (2012). Retrieved from https://sites.google.com/site/businessandtalentstrategy/home/our-strategy-management-system

Google as a talent management platform?. (2012). Retrieved from http://humancapitalist.com/?p=537 

Google talent: A look inside google talent machine. (2006, July 25). Retrieved from http://www.hcamag.com/article/a-look-inside-the-google-talent-machine-112999.aspx

 Gupta, A. (2009, Feb 18). Strategic hr planning at google inc.. Retrieved fromhttp://www.scribd.com/doc/13286610/Strategic-HR-Planning-at-Google-Inc

 Heathfield, S. (2010). What is talent management really?. Retrieved from        http://humanresources.about.com/od/successionplanning/g/talent-management.htm

 Husser, P. (2010, May 14). Google business and talent strategy. Retrieved from https://sites.google.com/site/businessandtalentstrategy/home/our-strategy-management-system

La Monica, P. (2012, September 04). Google at 14: Better than ever. CNN Money. Retrieved  from http://buzz.money.cnn.com/2012/09/04/google-stock-birthday/

 Rivera, M. (2011, May 10). Talent acquisition a definition. Retrieved from  http://blog.yoh.com/2011/05/talent-acquisition-a-definition.html

 Talent retention: 6 technology enabled best practices. (2012, June 14). Retrieved from             http://www.oracle.com/us/media1/talent-retention-6-best-practices-1676595.pdf

Talent acquisition strategies. (2008, July). Retrieved from http://www.peoplefluent.com/sites/default/files/resources/files/Aberdeen_Talent_Acquisition_Report.pdf

Walker, J. (2012, July 05). Schools in session at google. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303410404577466852658514144.html

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About Russia Robinson

I am an independent freelance writer and free thinker. I strive to use my writing talents to benefit the greater good of society, one word, one sentence, one page at a time. Originally from Richmond, California I attended San Francisco State University receiving a BA in English Creative Writing and American Literature in 2004. After this I attended post graduate studies in 2008 at Georgia’s Kennesaw State University in Technical Writing. With an academic background in English, I have spent more than 10 years’ helping young people succeed. This can be seen in my career background in education and mental health. I am a certifiable Language Arts teacher for the state of Georgia. I also worked in social services including juvenile mental health treatment services and counseling. As a result, I understand the diversity of problems people face in their everyday lives. With words put together like so, I promote equality and a healthy society for all people regardless of individual differences. Conducting research, writing articles, essays, and blogging, I push to educate others about various issues that affect people. I also do this creatively through short stories, poems, pictures, and a novel in progress. My hobbies and interest are reading and learning. I enjoy all things art and all things nature. From camping and astronomy to photography and cooking, I enjoy sighting seeing and socializing just as much as I enjoy curling in bed with a good book or binge watching TV.
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