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Google’s happy machine

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in Leaders & Managers,People Management

HR people at Google noticed a couple of problems some years back. They used data to solve them both.

The firm, like most tech firms, is staffed mainly by men, and women were leaving. Since Google competes for top-drawer geeks, every exit launches a costly recruiting and training process.

The company found the women problem was really a new mother’s problem, so it stepped up to the task. Now, instead of 12 weeks of paid time off, new moms get five months off at full pay and benefits.

Then there was the happiness problem. Google monitors employees’ satisfaction to an amazing degree, and the exodus of women suggested a hitch in the company’s happy machine.

Now, don’t think Google adds perks just to be nice. After the new maternity leave policy kicked in, Google’s attrition rate for new moms dropped to the average rate for the rest of the company.

“A 50% reduction—it was enormous!” says HR chief Laszlo Bock.

The happiness rate went up as well.

For the fourth consecutive year, Google this year was named Fortune’s best company to work for. Microsoft ranked 75th. Apple, Amazon and Facebook didn’t make the cut.

— Adapted from “The Happiness Machine: How Google became such a great place to work,” Farhad Manjoo, Slate.

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