The result is increased burnout, high turnover, decreased creativity and zero customer service and hence, public value. But one key thing that can make up for the losses is offering the opportunity of engagement. Engagement is a driving force that will move employees to perform their best work regardless of the traditional benefit system. But how do we find and foster engagement with the high demands and stringent systemic environmental expectations of cubicles, one size fits all policies and procedures, top down governance, power hungry management styles, merit systems, sterile work environments and dress codes?
Furthermore, to offset the benefit changes, the workforce needs much more diversity in benefits than it did 30 years ago. Single parent homes, a need for multiple employment, stressful work environments leading to decreased health have all been factors that counter the successful work environment that businesses and organizations need. Businesses such as Google, are letting go of the traditional human resources management systems and have adopted a new course they refer to as “People Operations. This style, in essence, is to “remove everything that might get in the employees way. ” At Google, this includes offering employees free gourmet meals, exercise facilities, game rooms, laundry service, on site medical staff, ND “up to 20 percent of their time to encore initiatives of their own choosing toward its vision of ‘changing the world. ‘” Furthermore, if their ideas garnish positive feedback from colleagues, they are given significant resources in order to proceed with their initiatives.
The question is, should “People Operations” be a system that should be considered and adopted in the public sector? What challenges has this new approach observed and what benefits has it brought forth? Can organizations use this model and yet modify it to meet their own needs? What considerations must be made? What is People Operations? What is people Operations and how is it different from Human Resources in the focus of the work-life balance?
As mentioned above, People Operations is defined as “to remove everything that might get in the employees way. ” 1 Moreover, it is the “realization that there is a relationship between employee welfare and productivity. 2 Companies, like Google, recognize that the most successful companies don’t succeed because of the buildings, chairs, technology and highly technologically skilled managers it has to offer, but because of the people it attracts, how they develop, evaluate, and reward hem.
How do they do this? Google hired social scientists to study their organization. The scientists, known as the Pilaf, short for People & Innovation Lab, “run dozens of experiments on employees in an effort to answer questions about the best way to manage a large firm. ” 3 From having their best employees complete hiring questionnaires, so that they look for similar qualities and answers from prospective employees, to accessing specific needs by region, noting their struggles, wants and desires.
Benefits in some offices range from offering Wife shuttle transportation, gourmet meals, under facilities to 5 month extended maternity leave and benefits. Other areas look for increased freedom, leadership opportunities, and take special note to train managers in the “8 Good Management Behaviors,” also assessed through the gathering of data from the people that work for them, and making decisions based on the information found. 4 Argue meet for People Operations-Why People Operations in the Public Sector? So why People Operations, also known as POPs for the Public Sector?
How would this translate in the public sector when there is little to no leeway for experimental funding, exorbitant benefits, nor room for deviation outside day to day protocols in order to be accountable to pubic expectations and the oversight of hundreds of thousands of employees? Why? For several reasons, the public sector needs creative, impassioned and dedicated employees in order to best serve the wicked issues affecting our communities today. Furthermore, creative, positive change increases public value.
And most importantly, because increasing ability to be fluid and personable in the public sector will only translate to the public, which again increases public alee, is cost effective, decreases turnover, creates social change, fosters leadership in others, and it just makes good sense. Increased creativity, production and success-Effective HER systems positively influence what people should do, can do and will do for the organization. According to the latest State of the American Workplace Report, “70 percent of U. S. Errors don’t like their job, and this creates an environment where workers are emotionally disconnected from their workplace and less productive than their engaged counterparts. “5 Moreover, engaging employees has proven to increase innovation and productivity, decrease turnover, lowered sickness rates, and has led to high employee satisfaction. 6 HER leaders have found that as they increase engagement, employees engaged tend to be motivated, more committed to their employer and tend to stay focused on achieving business goals.
Lack of engagement tends to decrease customer service, quality, productivity and retention. More reasons for HER to value and increase employee engagement. 7 Decreased Turnover Improving employee engagement through People Operations, which involves data driven management training, perks important to employees, and acquirement has proven to decrease turnover. Jennifer Mann, vice president of human resources for ASS, named as U. S. Fortune ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ list states, “you are not going to succeed unless you have a stable workforce.
Our voluntary turnover is 4% or less in an average industry of 22%, and we estimate it is saving the company hundreds Of millions in company turnover. “8 Depending on the industry, turnover can run from $3,000 for low- wage jobs to upwards of $25,000 per employee, according to a compilation of studies done by Sash Corporation, a human resources consultancy. 9 Increased Salary Is Scarce Though increased wages have for a long time been a strong factor in employee motivation and appeal, since the 2008 recession, many public and private sector jobs have held back annual increases and COLA’s.
So, during a time when salary increases, reclassification and cost of living increases are not readily available, public organizations, need to look at other employee engagement factors. In addition, because the public sector is accountable to the public, it generally has not had the ability to compete with the private sector, and therefore depends on attracting and maintaining employees wrought altruistic motivational factors such as a desire to serve the public. This is further reason why the public sector needs to consider implementing POPS, in order to build employee engagement.
Employees are looking for more than a just better salary Research by the Great Place to Work Institute, shows us that today’s employees are looking for different things outside of a big paycheck. Research results show that more than ten million employees worldwide indicated they want: Trust in leadership and each other, pride in their work, enjoyment of the people they work with, and fairness and transparency. These are all things that companies like Google and ASS seem to do well.
The key to making this approach successful, they say, is a sincere focus on employee wellbeing, which proactively considers employee suggestions, their needs, and in essence, what matters to employees. ‘ ‘The realization that there is a relationship between employee welfare and productivity is not new,” says Daniel A. Wren, author of Evolution of Management Thought. “Henry Ford tried a workers’ welfare program to deal with high turnover, even paying people $5 a day at a time when that was unheard of.
But, we’ve come long way since then. Workers today are smarter, more skilled, more demanding. They want different things. ” 10 Needs are not the same for every region and or office It is important to note that POPS is a concept and not a prescriptive plan of action. So what will work to drive employees in one office, may not work in another. The POPS concept is to be aware of regional needs by proactively assessing employees in order to know what would drive them in terms of the job and the work-life balance.
Employee engagement is about social connections happening in organizations and the alignment of work experiences with employees’ cultural needs. For example, research shows North American and Eastern European workers place high priority on financial rewards in relation to how satisfied they are at work, but elsewhere it’s about simple connections and involvement – meeting the more altruistic and basic human needs of feeling connected and being an important part of something bigger. 1 1 It is important to recognize that by changing one thing doesn’t mean companies are valuing people.
Jennifer Mann, vice president of human resources for ASS, also works with companies globally to help create deter work environments, states, “they think that if they just add a healthcare center then that will do. But it’s a much bigger picture. ” Milton Animosity, journalist and co-author of the Fortune ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ list since its beginning in 1998, recommends, “sit down and talk with your employees. Ask them what they want. ” 12 Too Costly? In addition to assessing needs, POPS also rigorously monitors data about how employees respond to benefits, and findings show that it rarely throws money away.
For example, the five-month maternity leave plan described above, was a win for the company. After being set in place, Google’s attrition rate for new mothers dropped down by 50 percent! -? it was enormous! ” Laszlo Bock, Head of Google’s POPS, said. Best of all, the maternity leave policy was cost-effective. Bock says, “if you factor in the savings in recruitment costs, granting mothers five months of leave doesn’t cost Google any more money. ” Finally, Bock states, “The important thing to note is that you don’t need a lot of money to do what Google has done. When you give people freedom, they will amaze you. 13 How Would POPS Translate Into Public Sector? Can it work? Due to Google’s insane success, not all of POPS research findings will pertain to the public sector. Nevertheless, there are many findings that could prove very useful in the PADS process to improve employee engagement, such as: training better managers, improving interview techniques, and evaluations. “We make thousands of people decisions every day-?who we should hire, how much we should pay them, who we should promote, who we should let go of,” says Parkas Stets, who heads POPS’ “people analytics” group. What we try to do is bring the same level of rigor to people decisions that we do to engineering decisions. Our mission is to have all people decisions be informed by data. ” 13 These recommendations will be discussed in this next section. Planning At the heart of Google’s POPS is a sophisticated employee-data tracking program that seeks first-hand information about every aspect of Google workers lives, (this is a little scary), in order to analyze the best rate of pay, benefits and traits of candidates that have been successful employees.
Therefore, planning involves the evaluating of thousands of employees and using that input to guide decisions for developing new jobs. Acquisition Until recently, the “Google Riddles,” (a process that was mocked in the movie, The Internship) were a trademark for Google’s interview process. But after seeing that the process did not yield better employees, it recently scrapped the whole process and began implementing a more standardized and personalized system that focused on the specific characteristics that are needed for the role.
This realization put Google among a small though growing group of companies who are moving away from traditional job interview processes in order to better compare candidates and hone in on pacific characteristics needed for the job. The public sector, on the other hand, already recognizes and uses structured interviews as a best practice. However, in addition to this, because managers often hire people that resemble their own personalities, Google then compiles elaborate reports on candidates from the interview process and hiring decisions are made by a group.
The HER team is made up of general HER business partners, internal consultant, line managers, learning and development, and recruitment teams “We do everything to minimize the authority and power of the manager In making a hiring decision,” Mr.. Bock explains-14 Development Google found that managers have a much greater impact on employees’ performance and how they feel about their job, more than any other factor. Therefore, in early 2009, statisticians inside the Googolplex embarked on a plan named Project Oxygen to build better bosses. The objective was for managers to understand what works and what doesn’t work in staff development.
Successful managers received feedback from their teams, then researchers boiled it all down to eight bullet points. Results were obvious, vague and mirrored practices of the public sector. I. E. “A high-scoring manager is a good coach,” “a good communicator,” “doesn’t micromanage. ” Nevertheless, when POPS ranked these truths and provided coaching for the unsuccessful managers, they found that the company’s managerial ranks improved. As a result of the coaching, Google managers’ collective feedback scores have improved every year since 2009. 5 One notable Project Oxygen finding is that: “The thing that moves or nudges Google’s are facts. They like information,” says Ms. Donovan, who was involved in the management effectiveness study and the effort to encourage healthier eating. “They don’t eke being told what to do. They’re just, ‘Give me the facts and I’m smart, I’ll decide. ‘” To improve health, instead of recommending a plan of action, the company stacked smaller plates next to bigger ones at the front of the line, and then explained to people that research shows that diners generally eat everything on their plate, even if they are full halfway through the meal.
By using the smaller plate, Google informed them that they could drop 10 to 15 pounds in a year. 16 See Figure 1 for the full list of the Eight Good Behaviors for managing development. Other important practices of development include employee engagement through team building, by extending lunch tables for making conversation more accessible, doing away with hierarchal management systems by creating a system where employees can voice opinions and implementing suggestions and by valuing overall employee wellbeing through the offering of perks and practices mentioned above.
Sanction The biggest difference that Google has in comparison with Public Sector is that performance reviews are done quarterly, rather than annually. And oddly enough, this dramatically increased the ratings that employees gave heir bosses due to how valuable they found it to receive ongoing clear and direct feedback. Through Project Oxygen’s findings, managers are also learning how to give direct feedback, when providing correction.
For example, Mark Klein, a Google engineering manager, said findings and the subsequent training helped him understand the importance of giving clear and direct feedback to the people he supervises. “There are cases with some personalities where they are not necessarily realizing they need a course correction,” Mr.. Klein says. “So it’s just about being really clear about saying, ‘O. K. I understand what you are doing here, but lets talk about the results, and this is the goal ” I’ve gotten direct feedback where they’ve thanked me for being clear. 17 Conclusion Google has the luxury of being a data-driven company with a large enough scale that when they run experiments, they are statistically valid. Management professor at the Ross School of Business, D. Scott Deere at the university of Michigan, applauds Google for its data-driven method for management. That said, he notes that while Google’s approach might be unusual, its findings nevertheless echo what other research had shown to be effective at other companies. 17 The caveat, however, is that the specific perks mentioned are not what are being advocated.
Instead, what is prescribed are the practices of even-keeled bosses who make time for one-on-one meetings, who help people manage through problems by asking questions, not dictating answers, and who take a vested interest in accommodating their employees’ lives and careers. It is these practices that are truly needed, missing, and are completely transferable into the Public Sector. 18 “The important thing to note is that you don’t need a lot of money to do what Google has done. If you give people freedom, they will amaze you -Lasso Bock So, how can you begin to reap the benefits of a happy staff?