Laszlo Bock has become a rockstar in the world of human resources (not the kind of sentence you hear often) in his 10 years at Google as SVP of “People Operations,” as Google calls it. Today Fortune reports that he’s handing the baton to Eileen Naughton, who heads Google’s UK/Ireland sales & operations. Naughton worked her way up the ranks at Time Inc. to president of Time Magazine before coming to Google in 2006 and serving in various roles before getting her latest post in 2014. She had already earned human resources cred as a co-founder of Women@Google, which seeks to promote the work of women at the company.
Bock also began speaking more about diversity in recent years, finally publishing Google’s first diversity report in 2014. The numbers weren’t pretty, with women making up just 17% of the tech-related positions, and all races other than white and Asian adding up to just single digits. Those numbers reflect the makeup of degree earners whom Google has to hire from, he wrote in a blog post, while noting other extenuating circumstances. “But we’re the first to admit that Google is miles from where we want to be—and that being totally clear about the extent of the problem is a really important part of the solution.” Laszlo wrote.
It was Bock’s promotion of Google’s unique culture—which he actually calls “Googleyness”—that defined his tenure. In a 2015 interview with Fast Company, Bock said that the concept did not mean hiring people who “look like us” but rather finding people who are different and offbeat, who can push and challenge the status quo. Sorting out the right people is an enormous challenge for Google, which receives about 2 million resumes a year for just a few thousand positions. He experimented with a variety of creative ways to discover the best people, even putting up billboards with cryptic puzzles for would-be applicants to solve.
Bock encapsulated Google’s employment approach in the 2015 mouthful-titled book Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead. The book described the Google philosophy (not invented by Laszlo) of giving employees as much freedom as possible and the ability to feel they have influence on the direction of the company. Laszlo will transition to an “advisor” to Google, reports Fortune. (by Sean Captain)MB