A Googler’s Critique of Google Performance Reviews

google performance reviews

This post was written anonymously by a current Google and former Microsoft employee.  It details the author’s perspective on her first-hand experience with Google’s performance review system.

“Confidence… thrives on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection and on unselfish performance. Without them it cannot live.”

–Franklin D. Roosevelt

Institutions are built on the trust and credibility of their members. This maxim holds true for employees and their employers just the same as it does for citizens and their government. Whereas the electoral process in modern democracies allows you and me to rate our government’s performance, performance rating systems make employees the subject of evaluation. In both cases, however, faith in the integrity of the process is the only thing that ensures order.

Managing a performance rating system that motivates, rewards, and retains talented employees across an organization tens of thousands large is a grueling, never-ending challenge. How does an organization balance values core to its DNA and its continued success — merit, openness, innovation, and loyalty — all while maintaining perceptions of fairness?

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How to Tell When A Manager Is Really Productive

what do managers do all day

What do managers do all day?

This is one of the great, constant mysteries of worklife. According to management expert Peter Drucker, what a manager does all day is set objectives, organize, motivate and communicate, measure, and develop people. The problem is, these tasks are so fuzzy that doing them makes it look like you’re not doing anything.

Your role is to help your team make meaningful progress, which means that your primary concern isn’t about you but the people you manage and how they’re doing. As Michael Lopp, veteran engineering manager, puts it: “Their productivity is your productivity.

A manager’s job is mystifying because it’s so hard to understand what this transitive type of productivity looks like. You have to redefine what it means to get stuff done and how to measure your manager productivity.

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The Boring Trait Google Looks For in Its Leaders

Google-Executives-Larry-Page-Eric-Schmidt-Sergey-Brin

The prototypical leader is a hero: gives the rousing speech, inspires the troops, and shows up at the last minute to save the day. At least that’s how leaders are portrayed. but that’s not at all what Google discovered as their most important qualities.

At Google, they’re obsessive about looking at data to determine what makes employees successful and what they found in the numbers was surprising.

The most important character trait of a leader is one that you’re more likely to associate with a dull person than a dynamic leader: predictability. The more predictable you are, day after day, the better.

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The Most Innovative Google Employees Aren’t Stanford/MIT grads with Perfect SATs

Google has long had a reputation for being a place that’s near impossible to get a job if you aren’t a Stanford or MIT grad. They not only asked you for your college GPA, they even asked you what you made on your SAT as a pimple-faced high schooler.

Recently, that’s all changed.

google employee hiring puzzle

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Innovation and Happiness at Work

Google has found that the most innovative workers — also the ‘happiest,’ by its definition — are those who have a strong sense of mission about their work and who also feel that they have much personal autonomy.

Big Data, Trying to Build Better Workers – NYTimes.com

Google has long been known as an elite organization bordering on elitist. It’s fascinating to see how their conception of prospective candidates has changed as they’ve looked at the data over time, departing from a SAT and GPA-driven view.

Account Association Security Threats for Google Single Sign-On

iDoneThis recently added itself to the Google Apps Marketplace and the Google Chrome Web Store, providing OpenID single-sign-on access to iDoneThis through Google accounts. It’s a great feature to have, but as we found during our implementation, one rife with security concerns.  Security advisories from both Google [2] and the OpenID foundation [3] pointed out possible vulnerabilities with various OpenID implementations related to the failure to check  for signed AX attributes.  But the failed check for signed AX attributes by certain implementations of OpenID is really a peripheral issue. A more fundamental security threat results from the incongruent use of the OpenID protocol for trust when it was meant for identification.  This article discusses how our integration of Google OpenID single-sign-on addresses the issues brought forth by the security advisories as well as the more central issue of proper OpenID usage.
Credit: openidexplained.com
Illustration from: http://openidexplained.com

 

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Get More Done with Dundee Living in Your Chrome

We’re now in the Google Chrome Store!  Add iDoneThis to Chrome, and Dundee will live on your Chrome home screen.  His mere presence will encourage you in everything you’re getting done.

From there, you can launch iDoneThis with one click.  If you haven’t made iDoneThis your home page yet (tsk tsk!), this is the next best thing.

Why did you create a Chrome Store app?

We bet that you’ll get more done when you see Dundee on your Chrome home screen every time you open up a new tab!

Our email reminders make it easy to remember to write down what you get done every day, so that you don’t have to do the work in remembering. With our iPhone App, people have told us that having Dundee sit on their phones is a constant helpful reminder to use iDoneThis to jot down their day.

We hope to be helpful in the same way every time you open a new tab in Chrome.  From there, it’s dead simple to launch iDoneThis and use the web to write down your accomplishments of the day.

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How to Build the Machine that Builds the Product

“The hard part is building the machine that builds the product.”

- Dennis Crowley

Successful entrepreneurs like Dennis Crowley and Mike Karnjanaprakorn at SkillShare have pointed that building a great product is only step one.  The next, harder step is building the machine that builds the product which turns improvement into a repeatable process.

Mark Pincus, discussing his experience of growing Zynga, observed that products can be built “through the strength of your personality and lack of sleep,” but that doesn’t scale — and soon “you’ve got to find some way to keep everybody going in productive directions when you’re not in the room.”

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