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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’s head of People Analytics talks making work better

For Google, an amazing workplace starts with an inspiring culture that brings meaning to people and their work and is reinforced with people-centered, data-driven decision making.

Avoiding loss to make big gains in employee wellness

People tend to be more influenced by potential losses than gains. This human “flaw” can be thoughtfully used to nudge employees to follow through on health and wellness commitments.

Nudge employees to save more for retirement

Google partnered with a team of researchers to see if nudging employees to save more to their 401(k)s by “anchoring” them to a higher savings goal could work. It did.

Hiring, honeybees, and human decision making

Taking a tip from how teachers grade a stack of tests, “chunking” job applications has been shown to help reduce bias and increase the accuracy in hiring.

Use nudges to make your organization better

Organizations have started using nudges, or simple interventions that change behavior in a predictable way, more deliberately in the last decade. What can HR do to harness the power of behavioral economics to improve the work experience in organizations?

Gusto hires for culture enhancement, not culture fit

See how a fast-growing company finds candidates who will not only thrive in their culture, but enhance it by using cross-functional interviews.

Ten hacks from Code for America to help you hire

Code for America wants tech-savvy civil servants to improve public services. After studying hiring practices at cities and states across the US, they learned that governments needed to use 21st century hiring practices in order to recruit the right talent.

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.