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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.

Need inspiration? Watch the re:Work 2016 event videos

Check out what some of the leading academics, business leaders, and pioneers are saying about the future of work, people analytics, and how we can all make work better.

Change culture, not curriculum, to get more women into computer science

For over ten years, Carnegie Mellon University has been successful at enrolling, sustaining, and graduating women in computer science at a much higher rate than national averages. Here are six ways we made it happen.

Anne-Marie Slaughter and Laszlo Bock on care, leave, and valuing work and life

How do we change the value we give to the care of children and family? Anne-Marie Slaughter sat down with Google’s Laszlo Bock to talk about mothers, fathers, and how organizations and society should better support parents and children.

Check out the re:Work pay equity guide

Designing and auditing fair pay practices are steps organizations everywhere can take to create more equitable workplaces. Check out the re:Work guide on pay equity to learn what you can be doing now.

How the “what’s your current salary?” question hurts the gender pay gap

In 2015 we added 8,214 employees to Google. And the women we hired, on average, received a 30 percent bigger salary increase upon joining the company, compared to men. Does that sound fair to you?

Workplace design, building for humans and machines

Increasingly, we will work alongside machines in spaces designed not just for people, but also for artificially intelligent occupants. It's already happened in factories, spaceships, and hackerspaces and may be coming to a workplace near you.

Why Zingerman's treats their employees like customers

“I have no right to ever expect that someone that works for us is going to give a higher level of service to a guest than I’m willing to give to the employee,” Paul Saginaw said. Saginaw co-founded Zingerman’s Deli, famous for big sandwiches, happy customers, and loyal employees.

Surprisingly awesome: The history of accounting with Adam Davidson

Double-entry bookkeeping might not be the flashiest of innovations to come out of the industrial revolution. But, while it was critical for the integrated enterprise, workers wound up on the "cost" side of the ledger, and maybe they shouldn't have.

KPMG Case Study: Motivating employees through purpose

KPMG wanted to understand the underlying factors that were influencing employee engagement at the audit, tax, and advisory firm. They discovered that a sense of purpose was the key and set out to reinforce this by soliciting stories from all levels of the organization.

Helping HR get a seat at the table

It is a common lamentation of human resource business partners everywhere - "I can't get a seat at the table." But a team at Google has come up with an innovative way to get a seat anywhere.

Get that second (and third) opinion on a candidate before hiring

Is it worth the extra time to get an extra interviewer to vet a candidate? The latest research from the Behavioural Insights Team in the UK shows just how valuable an extra reviewer or two can be to making the best hiring decision.

Tell us what’s working for you

We have a saying at Google that inspires our product development and our People Operations work: “Focus on the user and all else will follow.” We want to learn how you're using re:Work content and how we can make it better.

Bring International Day of Happiness in-house

Sunday March 20 is the International Day of Happiness. Celebrate by considering how the research on positive psychology can help your organization, and commit to at least one act of happiness.

How do you innovate at scale within the federal government?

How do you get past "that's the way we've always done it" to find new and innovative ways to do things? Bryan Sivak brought scientific methods to the US Department of Health and Human Services and shifted the conversation so now they say "Let’s test it out. Let’s experiment."

Wegmans and Google on what a grocer and tech company have in common

You don't need to be in an industry with wide profit margins to treat your people well. Wegmans Food Markets has been doing it for years and credits their people with their success.

Connections, onboarding, and the need to belong

Few would disagree that relationships matter. However, when onboarding new employees, many organizations don’t do enough to help them make connections or foster a sense of belonging.

Data from the lunchroom could inform the boardroom

Does lunch table size impact workplace productivity? By using analytics and mapping interactions, we found that increasing lunch table size boosted performance by 10%. And the approach has implications reaching far beyond the cafeteria.

Stories and experiments from the UK Nudge Unit

“It’s easy to get 25 people to change the way they deliver a service, but how about 25,000?” This is the challenge that Joanne Reinhard of Britain's "Ministry of Nudges" faces as she experiments with better ways to scale influence and impact.

One step at a time: walking and creativity

We know exercise is good for your physical being, but research shows that a simple walk can also significantly boost your creative problem solving. Stepping away from your desk may give you an extra mental step.

Understanding others' mind-body values

Dr. Christine Looser examines why it is that we often value our own mental health above our physical well-being but when considering the priorities of others, we usually assume they value their body more than their mind.