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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.

Google explains why "Hiring is the Most Important Thing You Do"

For almost any organization, it’s the employees who make it what it is – doing the actual work and shaping the culture. That’s why hiring is the most important thing organizations do, and it pays to get it right.

Listen to this podcast on how Google hires

Finding, assessing, and hiring exceptional talent is never easy, but there are ways to structure how you screen, interview, and woo candidates to help you make better decisions.

Support your managers with these re:Work tools

There’s no question that managers matter to your organization: research shows that managers can significantly impact business outcomes and the employee experience. Develop and support your managers with these tools from re:Work.

Google's ongoing effort to make managers awesome

Managers matter a lot and can have a huge impact on employee performance. Learn how Google came to terms with this and sought to make every manager at Google awesome.

Defining values and training leaders in California State Government

For the California Government Operations Agency, creating a training curriculum for the state’s 30,000 managers was a top priority.

White lies in the workplace don’t help

Would you rather give harsh, truthful criticism or provide nicer, less accurate feedback? It turns out it may depend on how we perceive the recipient, and we wind up sugarcoating feedback for women more often than for men.

Use the proven power of stories to explain science and data

To effectively communicate science — or anything, really — you need to know two things: your audience and your goal. To make your findings stick, tell a story.

In a deluge of data look for surprises, not confirmation

Have you ever tried to find a clear pathway but ended up drowning in data that seem to make everything more murky instead of less? Before you dive into data collection, try a bit of question reflection to make sure you understand what sorts of data will, and won’t, be useful.

When should you shoot for the moon?

Companies are enticed by stories of firms who pursued a moonshot, risked it all, and won big. And research shows stretch goals can produce outstanding returns, but only if the conditions are right.

How data can improve bike commuting

More people are biking to work than ever before. The number of trips made by bicycle in the U.S. rose from 1.7 billion in 2001 to 4 billion in 2009, and since the year 2000, bicycle commuting rates in large bike-friendly communities has increased by 105%.

re:Worker story: Starting small by bringing data to hiring

As the sole HR person at a small company, I decided to take a page from re:Work and run my own experiments to see how data could improve our people-related decisions.

John Doerr on why HR matters

Having spotted and mentored the founders of many hugely successful companies, including Google, John Doerr knows that organizations can’t wait when it comes to “the people stuff.” Doerr explains that hiring the right people is the most important thing any leader does.

Making re:Work work for small businesses

This National Small Business Week, we celebrate the millions of small and mighty businesses who are innovating and driving the economy around the world. Find out what re:Work offers to help you make great people decisions for your company.

The secret to Motley Fool’s investing success: Look at the company culture

How important is the culture to the performance of an individual company? According to one Motley Fool, the answer is it’s very important and it’s part of what’s helped him beat the market over the last 20 years.

Tool: Learn how the IRS helps managers effectively communicate

The IRS employs 84,000 people — from mailroom clerks to tax law experts — and the Service works to make sure that managers and employees are able to communicate effectively using inclusive behaviors.

How graduate students can help you translate HR theories into practice

Even with the rise of people analytics, there is still a large gap between what organizational science recommends and what organizations actually do. Partnering with graduate students is one way to close this gap.

How many interviews does it take to hire a Googler?

To cut down on time to hire, Google’s staffing team examined past interview data and determined that four interviews was enough to make a reliable hiring decision.

Structure your hiring process with these re:Work tools

Hiring someone new is a critical decision for a team or organization, and every step of the hiring process contributes to the final outcome. Use these resources from Google to help you approach hiring in a fair and structured way.

Astronauts in training: Building trust and open feedback channels

On the 2.5-years-long Mars mission, it will take 22 minutes to send a message from Earth to the spaceship and then 22 more minutes to respond. To deal with these types of hurdles, NASA trains space and ground crews extensively on communication skills.

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.