How To Build a Better Workplace

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A good culture
isn’t about free food and lava lamps—or even about the money, says Laszlo Bock,
who oversaw the rapid growth of Google’s workforce from 6,000 to 76,000 people
between 2005 and 2016 when he was senior vice president of people operations

It’s about
ensuring that employees feel valued and respected, says Bock, who shared his
vision for making workplaces better in his keynote speech at the Society for
Human Resource Management’s 2017 Annual Conference & Exposition in June and
also in his book Work Rules! (Twelve,

Bock, who is
now founder and CEO of the learning company Humu, offers the following six tips
for making workers happier and more productive.

1. Give jobs

productivity increases when they learn how their efforts positively affect
others, according to research by Wharton
professor Adam Grant. 

industries and job types, roughly a third of people find meaning in their
jobs,” Bock says. The trick is helping the rest of your employees feel
similarly connected. “Find out why people are doing [their jobs] and what’s
meaningful to them.”

2. Build

“If you believe
people are fundamentally good, you’re going to treat them that way,” he says.
And research indicates that trusting workers—in other words, showing you have
faith in their innate goodness—greatly benefits companies, whether the workers
are Harvard MBAs or high school graduates. 

“If you give
people freedom, they will repay you by being more productive and effective,” he
says. “But most organizations are not structured like that.” He noted that
leaders typically don’t share information freely or trust workers to figure out
for themselves the best way to do their jobs. “You want to give people a little
more freedom than you’re comfortable with.”

3. Hire people
better than you. 

That can be
hard to do using traditional interviewing techniques. People tend to select
candidates mainly because they can relate to them—perhaps based on a shared
interest or background—and not because such individuals can actually do the
job. To minimize this problem, Bock recommends assessing each candidate based
on previously identified job attributes and leaving the hiring manager out of
the process entirely. 

4. Pay

performers produce disproportionately higher dividends for employers than those
in the middle of the pack. Yet most companies have a mere 20 percent difference
in compensation between their average workers and their very best.

“The problem is
that if you’re good at your job, you get a couple big raises and then you
flatline,” Bock says. That’s why he advocates implementing at least a 50
percent pay spread among employees. It might feel wrong, “but unless you do
this, your competitors are going to pick off your best people.” 

That said, make
sure you can clearly explain the compensation process to ensure that pay is not
based on factors other than performance.  

5. Offer a

Bock and his
team at Google found that new employees were taking an average of nine months
to become fully productive. They discovered that those who got up to speed
faster had a few things in common: They met more people, asked more questions
and had fully functioning computers from the outset. So the team started
sending e-mails to new employees and their managers that stressed the
importance of connecting with others and securing the right equipment. Through
this simple act, they reduced the average time to get fully productive to six

“If you give
people these small interventions—these nudges, these checklists—it does make a
difference,” Bock says.


Your work is
never done. Keep repeating it again and again, he says.

Putting in that continual effort
is worth it because, at the end of the day, HR professionals—and all
leaders—have only two options: “Every day when we show up, we can fight and
work and slog through our jobs and just survive like most of our workforces
do,” he says, “or we can do something, anything, to make work get better.”

Building and maintaining a
positive workplace and culture is very beneficial in maintaining a company.
Converge HR Solutions offers an HR outsourcing service that can assist your
workplace needs. This service offers orientation and onboarding, training, compensation,
and employee relations to ensure that each employee is on the same page and
understands the purpose and culture of the company.  For more information regarding the HR
Outsourcing service and what else it has to offer, or any of our other services
in general, visit our website
at or email us directly at or give us a call at 610-296-8550.


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