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The Water Cooler

A blog of fresh ideas and findings from organizational leaders and researchers on how they’re making work better, shared regularly.

Mapping employee chitchat can reveal information blockages

By measuring the day-to-day interactions between employees, organizations can map how information gets shared and actually make work, and their businesses, better.

Reduce the influence of unconscious bias with these re:Work tools

Our unconscious biases can help us make decisions quickly but sometimes they may lead us astray, especially when it comes to judging other people. When making hiring and promotion decisions, reduce potential unconscious biases by using these tools.

New research explores tackling unconscious bias in the classroom

Google is funding research at Berkeley and MIT to help uncover ways to reduce bias among teachers and help all students excel in computer science and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).

“Houston, this is Station...”: Mission-critical communication for teams

“CAPCOMs can really make your day.” This simple journal entry by an astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS) shows just how important communication can be to the success of a team orbiting hundreds of miles above the Earth.

The science of storytelling with Google’s Prasad Setty

After collecting the data, running the analyses, and verifying the results, how do you go from finishing a report to actually influencing data-based change in your organization? Learn to tell a story.

The History and Future of Work with futurist Marina Gorbis

Humanity’s working life only recently started revolving around large, centralized organizations. The future of work may look more like pre-industrialized work, in terms of how economic and social networks become more integrated again.

Watch: Google's research on making managers awesome

A team of Google researchers set out to prove that managers didn't matter. Their research didn't go as expected and their work changed how Google trains managers. Hear from one of the researchers about what it's really like to be a manager at Google.

HR Information Systems 2.0: Integrating People Analytics

How Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) is taught hasn’t changed much in decades while workplaces have undergone a technological and data revolution. To prepare future business leaders, we have the opportunity to rethink how business schools teach and leverage HRIS.

Livestream on Google's research-based manager training

Tune in February 2nd at 11am PT to learn from Google's People Development team how Google uses data to support and develop managers. Bring your burning managerial questions to have them answered live on the air.

McKinsey’s global view of workplace gender equality

Gender parity at work is an issue everywhere, not just in a few specific countries. The McKinsey Global Institute suggests that aiming for progress, rather than perfection, by looking to neighbors for best practices may lead to quicker solutions.

How our nonprofit partners with academics to conduct internal HR research

You don’t need a department of in-house social scientists to do your own people research. Partnering with an academic can be a win-win, furthering the science and helping you make data-driven organizational decisions.

Find better solutions by not complaining about problems

In order to solve big problems, we need to focus on solutions. Sounds obvious, but when looking at how the media and even our workplaces can over emphasize the problems with little mention of solutions, research has shown that there is indeed a better way.

Improving workplace transparency using a virtual window

How does workplace transparency change the labor and the product? What if the employee and the customer could actually see one another? And what if they’re connected via an iPad video link? One researcher found it was a win-win.

Finding organizational purpose by working out together

Does your organization exist for a higher purpose? Research shows that a sense of working for something greater can help attract talent, increase employee engagement, and promote a sense of meaning at work. But how do you foster a sense of purpose at work?

Segmentors vs Integrators: Google’s work-life-balance research

Google research shows that those who rigidly separate their personal and work lives are significantly happier about their well-being than those who tend to blur the lines between the two.

Should you hire for cultural fit or adaptability?

Companies increasingly view their cultures as a source of competitive advantage and hire employees on the basis of cultural compatibility. But is it better to hire someone who “fits” initially or someone who could be able to adapt quickly?

Bringing civility back to the workplace

Respect and incivility are each contagious as people reflect the treatment they receive. Research shows that individuals and organizations can influence workplace behavior in ways big and small by modeling and rewarding doing the right thing.

Are we as ethical as we think we are? Probably not, but we should embrace that.

We all like to think that we’re ethical people most of the time. But the reality is our behavior is changeable and cyclical. Research suggests that by giving up on the idea of perfect ethicality, we can learn from our mistakes and improve our behavior.

Worried you’re an impostor? You’re not alone!

Have you ever been congratulated at work but felt you didn't deserve it? Do you worry that you got hired accidentally and will be fired if discovered? You may be experiencing “impostor syndrome,” but don’t worry, you’re not alone.

A bit of self-reflection can help us become our best selves

To become our better selves it helps to visualize our best selves. Research shows that by reflecting on the type of people we want to be, we wind up feeling more psychological safety and elevating not only our own performance, but that of our entire team.