Alexis Monville (en)

Work Rules – Insights from Google that will transform how you live and lead

Work Rules is a book from Laszlo Bock, SVP of People Operations at Google. You will find that the “People Operations” that could be called “Human resources” in other organizations is really different in its way to operate.

work-rulesMain difference is the focus on data, not on opinion, and to be careful with natural human biais.

They decided to measure everything that concerns people and their interactions. They started with the recruitment process, and analysed how the numerous interviews and tests was not able to eliminate interviewer’s biais. They changed the way interviews was conducted and continue the measurement to see what was working or not.

Brain teasers appeared not so useful. They probably demonstrate that the one who is asking the question is smart, but they will not help to find the right people for the organization. Asking questions that help people to share their behavior is much more interesting. For example: “Tell me about a time your behavior had a positive impact on your team” and “Tell me about a time you had difficulty working with someone”.

Their recruitment goal is: “Only hire people who are smarter than you are, no matter how long it takes to find them”.

They also improved employee surveys and gave analysis capabilities to managers and employees.

One of the things that I found particularly interesting –  and one of the thing I try to put in place with every team I work with – is the peer feedback. They improved and simplified radically their system to reach 2 questions:

  • One thing the person should do more of
  • One thing the person should do differently to have more impact

A benevolent way to help people grow.

You will discover also things that I already covered on this blog, like the way to thank people, to send kuddos. They have G-thanks (that doesn’t need manager’s approval) and they also have 750$ peer bonuses (that doesn’t need managers approval either).

Of course, the author covers the way to set goals with the OKR approach. You can have a look to the re:Work guide designed by Googlers to learn more on this.

I encourage you to read the book, to read this illustrated summary. And to intrigue and give you really the desire to do so, I will share the summary in 10 points:

  1. give your work meaning
  2. trust your people
  3. hire only people that are better than you
  4. don’t confuse development with managing performance
  5. focus on the two tails
  6. be frugal and generous
  7. pay unfairly
  8. nudge
  9. manage the raising expectation
  10. enjoy (and start over to 1)


Header picture is from Jason Yu.