Article: Work Rules! Insights from Inside Google: A Book Review

Talent Management

Work Rules! Insights from Inside Google: A Book Review

The book unveils practical insights on how Google is hiring the best talent and ensuring they continue to prosper.
Work Rules! Insights from Inside Google: A Book Review

Earlier, People Matters brought you a list of 10 Books every HR professional should read.  We here present you our review on “Work Rules! Insights from Inside Google-that will transform how you live and lead”, authored by Lazlo Bock, former SVP of People Operations at Google.

Today, we don’t search for something on the Internet - we GOOGLE it! The causal agent behind this boom is the belief that drives Google -“Treat people like owners instead of machines. Machines do their jobs; owners do whatever is needed to make their companies and team successful.” This axiom is at the heart of “Work Rules!” 

The book talks about why hiring is the single most important people activity at Google and it delves into unconventional and effective approaches that the company has developed and applied to make work meaningful and people happy. For example, At Google, there is a strong effort to prevent toxic internal politics. Laszlo recalls a memory from his early days at Google when he had complained about someone to his manager, and the manager promptly CCed that person so they could deal with their conflict directly. It was an unusual lesson in the importance of having a direct conversation with his colleagues.

In this book, Laszlo reveals Google’s people operations secrets that will help the organizations to alleviate talent in this digital era. The book provides practical insights on hiring, performance management, compensation, culture including a blueprint of how Google built the World’s first People Operations Team.

Here are the key insights from the book:

1. Give people more trust, freedom, and authority than you are comfortable giving them. 

2. Hire only the best and hire only people who are better than you in some meaningful way and do not let managers alone make hiring decisions for their own team.

3. Set realistic and measurable goals Use a calibration process to finalize performance ratings and disconnect rewards conversation from development conversation.

4. Invest only in courses that you can prove a change in people’s behavior. Engage in deliberate practice: Break lessons down into small, digestible pieces with clear feedback and do them again and again.

5. Have wide variations in pay that reflect the power law distribution of performance. Create a culture that celebrates accomplishment and not compensation and reward thoughtful failure.

6. Don’t go with your guts or intuition. Predict and shape the future by using data.

Laszlo ends the book by offering a blueprint about how the company  built its people operations function and what you can do to build a “new kind of HR.” He also notes that to create a place where you want to work, you need to be a founder by choosing how you interact with those around you, how you design your workplace and how you lead. In doing so, you’ll help create a place that will attract the most talented people on the planet. 

What we like about the book: 

The book not only introduces you to Google’s people practices but also includes some impeccable people practices introduced at leading companies as well as smaller companies. 

Unique and engaging format.

Real stories about people and organizations.

Suitable for:

Personal and professional growth for anyone in HR looking for practical insights on managing human dynamics at work.

About the Author:

Laszlo Bock is the former SVP of People Operations at  Google. Currently, he is CEO of Humu, which he co-founded with Wayne Crosby. Prior to joining Google, he worked with General Electric and McKinsey & Company.


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Topics: Talent Management, Sports, Books & Movies

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