You & Google Have The Same HR Problems


Over the holidays I discovered that we, everyday HR pro’s, share more similar HR problems with Google then you would think.

According to this article, many current and former Googlers have a lot of gripes about the company. Now some of this stuff (“everyone is overqualified”) is not a typical HR  issue but the article does highlight some complaints that may sound familiar: lack of diversity and bad managers.


The lack of diversity in the tech sector has been a huge discussion point in the last couple of years and this article only adds to that discussion with these quotes:

  • “They hire the same person over and over again.”
  • “Stepford Engineers”

Even if your company doesn’t have an active diversity program, who doesn’t struggle to find candidates with diverse skills and experience? In a year where many were stunned by the election of Donald Trump, its more important than ever to get out of our bubbles.


Reading through the list of Google employee gripes about their managers I couldn’t help but get that “Groundhog day” feeling:

  • Middle Management is political and uninspiring: ”  They don’t want to rock the boat, they don’t know how to inspire their workforce, and they rely far too much on the Google name and reputation to do that for them.”
  • “People are promoted into management positions — not because they actually know how to lead/manage, but because they happen to be smart”

Forget you are reading an article about Google and some of these comments start to look like comments from your own employee survey. Maybe we shouldn’t feel so bad about the same problems we see in our organizations? After all, if Google can’t fix it, who expects us to?


It’s not “okay” that your retail team looks like a Hitler youth group.

It’s also NOT okay that you still haven’t addressed the tyrannical Managers in your company.

The issues of leadership and diversity in the workplace are difficult problems to solve. If Google, with tons of data, resources  and money is struggling, it’s not surprising that the rest of us with limited  resources haven’t fixed these same problems at our organizations.

BUT Those of us in smaller, less complex organizations (which is probably many of my readers), do have a significant advantage over Google because we are smaller and less complex. It’s much easier to test diversity initiatives, management training programs, recruiting programs, social media, etc;, at smaller organizations. There is less buy-in to obtain and less cost.  

So yea, Google struggles with the same management and diversity issues that you do, but you don’t get off easy either.  You have a lot more room to get creative.  

Related Posts:

Ideas From Google Any HR Pro Can Try

Trump Won. We Can All Move Along Now. Right?

election-overNope. As evidenced by the #notmypresident hashtag and protests, our President-Elect will be stirring up strong emotions for at least four more years. As  HR Pro’s we are going to continue to see this bleed into the workplace.

That’s why I’ve put together a list of some of the best articles I’ve read on the post election workplace, Donald Trump, and politics at work. It doesn’t matter that the election is over, the divisiveness we saw in this election will likely continue and we should anticipate the implications and our response.

Continue reading “Trump Won. We Can All Move Along Now. Right?”

A Decade in HR : Don’t Close Doors

I was updating my LI profile the other night and realized that I have been in HR for over TEN years.  A decade in a profession that can be incredibly rewarding, frustrating and sometimes soul-crushing all in the same day.

Over the last decade, I’ve learned some important lessons from observation and personal experience.  That’s what this series will be about. This series will not be about crazy HR stories or bad HR people, it’s about my observations and moving the field forward. I hope this series is enlightening, funny and maybe you learn something.

Make sure to check out lessons one and two:

Lesson Three: Don’t Close Doors

My first job in HR was the headquarters of a large multi-state company. I was excited to be working downtown, excited to dress “professionally” every day and most of all excited to be working for a company with over 10,000 employees. When I set out to get my first job in HR, I targeted large companies because I believed these organizations would provide diverse experience and promotional opportunities.

Ten years later, I still see the advantage of large companies  but I’ve realized a few things:

Continue reading “A Decade in HR : Don’t Close Doors”

Half Measures

I’ve been watching Breaking Bad again and noticing new details. For example,  the beautiful photography. Every time I watch an episode I want to move to New Mexico. Thanks to the prequel series Better Call Saul, I’m also paying attention to the character backstories.

Mike Ehrmantraut, ex-cop and now right hand man of drug boss Gustavo Fringe, is a fascinating character. In the season three episode Half Measures, Mike shares the story of the time he chose a half measure. He had the opportunity to kill a serial domestic abuser and Mike instead took him to jail. Upon his release from jail, the man killed his wife. In Mike’s words:

“I chose a half measure when I should have gone all the way... I’ll never make that mistake again. No more half measures, Walter.” 

In many circumstances it makes sense to choose the half measure.  Continue reading “Half Measures”