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注意了,谷歌已放弃奇葩面试题

Tamara Friedrich 2016年03月21日

渴望成为谷歌人的青年才俊请注意:这家科技巨头已经放弃了诸如“一辆校车可以装多少个高尔夫球?”这类古怪的面试问题。那么,谷歌打算采用什么方式来评价一位登门求职的潜在员工呢?

长期以来,科技界都受到“奇葩面试题”的误导。如今,始作俑者谷歌都转变思路,利用全新理念及工具来判断应聘者素质。

“一辆校车可以装多少个高尔夫球?”

曾几何时,谷歌和其他大型科技公司都以这种奇葩面试题而闻名于世。背后的原因似乎不难理解:这些古怪问题可以判断出一位潜在员工的思维独创性和分析能力,从而帮助公司招聘到具备创造力的优秀人才。

问题在于,谷歌发现,这种策略实际上并不能预测人们的工作能力。相反,该公司意识到,最好向潜在员工提出一些与他们未来实际工作相关的问题。这一转变是人力资源学者们多年来潜心研究的结果。

吸取这种教训后,谷歌现在已经成为“循证管理”的拥护者,致力于充分利用其人力分析部门的内部数据,同时与学术界密切合作。

谷歌还推出了一个名为re:Work的新网站,希望借助这一令人印象深刻的举措,将这种全新的管理理念传播出去,为其他公司提供帮助。这家网站试图通过分享最佳管理实践,“将工作变得更好”。

这家网站被描述为谷歌的经验库,收集了谷歌和其他公司的大量案例研究。目前,re:Work尚处在起步阶段。不过,已有的大量信息主要围绕四个关键领域——招聘、管理、多元化和分析。

此外,网站上分享的信息,也为我们提供了宝贵的机会,深入了解谷歌如何让员工保持高水平的创造力和创新力。

以下是re:Work网站上总结的谷歌促进创新的最佳实践。

预测绩效

实际上,通过奇葩难题来判断员工创造力的公司,远不只谷歌一家,但谷歌却是第一家公开承认这种做法无效的公司。

一家公司往往很难准确识别和管理创造型人才,问题的根源在于对创造力本身存在误解。许多人认为,创造力是一种神奇的事物,是灵光乍现,没有办法培养或管理。但多年的创造力研究却显示,事实并非如此。

我们不仅可以发现哪些人在工作中会有创造性的表现,还可以通过培训提高创造力,管理创造性绩效。

相比其他不太复杂的绩效形式,这种做法可能难度更大,但有研究显示,有许多方法可以发现创造性人才,在招聘时可根据一系列清晰的特征对求职者进行评估,例如知识、技能、能力,以及诸如个性等其他特征。

培养管理者

说起管理者,谷歌分享了它犯过的另一个错误——这家公司曾经认为管理者并不重要,甚至可能会扼杀创造力。后来谷歌发现,如果没有管理者,员工会因为各种令人分心的任务而不堪重负,最终将伤害创造力。

这种观点得到了研究的支持。事实上,管理(以及它的近亲——领导力)对培养创造力至关重要。

借助于人力分析工具,谷歌发现了8 种有助于提高管理者效率的特征。事实证明,其中有几种特征能够对员工创造力产生积极影响。

这些特征包括放权,不进行微观管理,关心员工的成功和个人福利,为团队确立共同的愿景和策略,具备一些能够让管理者为团队提供建议和评估创造性想法的技术专长。

管理多元化

许多人相信,多元化肯定能够提高创新力。你或许认为,将一群不同背景的人放在一起,能够自动带来创造性想法。虽然有证据证明,多元视角确实有助于培养创造力,但也可能因为误解而导致更多冲突。

这个问题的关键在于偏见对人们相互交流方式的影响。偏见会影响个人和团队的合作能力,可能导致团队成员和领导者因为提出想法的人而反对这种想法,而不管想法本身的好坏——最终将阻碍公司创新。

为了帮助员工了解和管理无意识的偏见,谷歌推出了一系列旨在“排除偏见”的活动,甚至提供工具帮助其他公司组织自己的“排除偏见”讨论会。研究显示,排除偏见讨论会中经常讨论的一种技巧——更换视角——可以用来利用多元视角的好处,进而促进团队的创造力。

团队动力

谷歌在re:Work上发布了一项关于团队合作的最新研究成果。这项研究显示,重要的不是团队中有哪些人,而是团队成员之间的互动方式。

谷歌提出了预测成功团队的五个指标:心理安全感,可依赖性,结构与透明,工作的意义和工作的影响。谷歌注意到,对团队成功影响最大的团队动力是心理安全感,即在分享想法和彼此示弱的时候,团队成员的内心究竟有多么舒适自在。

事实证明,心理安全感有助于知识分享,增强活力和促进学习。有鉴于此,它能成为团队和组织培养创造力的重要方式,一点也不令人意外。

谷歌的新网站re:Work不仅提供促进创新的有用信息和工具,分享自己的最佳实践,还建立一个“中心”收集“将工作做得更好”的方法,这本身就是一次显著的创新。(财富中文网)

本文作者塔玛拉•弗雷德里希现任沃里克大学创业与创新学副教授。

译者:刘进龙/汪皓

审校:任文科

“How many golf balls could you fit in a school bus?”

This is the kind of question Google and its big tech brethren were once known for asking would-be employees. The reasoning behind the technique seemed intuitive. Ask people odd questions, see how original and well analyzed their thought process was, and you’ll end up hiring creative high-performers.

The trouble is, Google has discovered that the strategy doesn’t actually predict people’s ability to do the job. Instead, it found that it’s best to ask structured questions related to what prospective employees will actually be doing—something that had been studied for many years by HR scholars.

Having learned its lesson, Google has since become a champion of evidence-based management, utilizing internal data through its People Analytics department (its version of HR) and built close relationships with academics. In an impressive move, Google is now paying it forward and trying to help other organizations through its new sitere:Work, which aims to “make work better” by sharing management best practice.

The re:Work site, described as a repository of Google’s experience and case studies from other organizations, is still in its infancy. But there is already a wealth of information around four key areas—hiring, management, diversity, and analytics.

The information shared throughout the site also provides valuable insight into how Google maintains a high level of creativity and innovation in its workforce.

Below are some of Google’s best practices from re:Work that are known to foster innovation.

Predicting performance

Google is not the only organization that has used brainteasers to identify creative individuals, but it may be the first to publicly admit that they are ineffective.

The trouble with accurately identifying and managing creative talent often stems from misconceptions of what creativity is. Many believe that creativity is something magical—a burst of insight—that cannot be developed or managed. Many years of creativity research has shown this is not the case, however.

Not only can we identify individuals likely to perform creatively on the job, we can also train them to be more creative, as well as manage creative performance.

While it may be more difficult than less complex forms of performance, there is research that shows there are methods for identifying creative performers, and a clear pattern of characteristics that can be assessed when hiring, including knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics such as personality.

Developing managers

When it comes to managers, Google GOOG -0.02% shares another mistake it’s made—thinking that managers don’t matter, and may even kill creativity. Instead it found that, without managers, employees were left overwhelmed with distracting tasks which can actually hurt creativity.

The research supports this. Management (and its close cousin, leadership) are actually quite important to fostering creativity.

Using its people analytics tools, Google identifiedeight characteristics in particular that made its managers effective, and several of these have been shown to be positively related to employee creativity.

They include empowering your team and not micromanaging, being attentive to employees’ success and personal well-being, establishing a shared vision and strategy for the team, and having technical expertise that allow them to adequately advise the team and evaluate creative ideas.

Managing diversity

Many believe that diversity is a sure-fire way to increase innovation. You might expect that by assembling a diverse mix of people, you are automatically more likely to get creative ideas from their different perspectives. While there is some evidence to suggest that diverse perspectives do help foster creativity, it can also lead to increased conflict due to misunderstanding.

At the heart of this problem is the effect of bias on the way people interact with one another. Bias can hinder individuals’ and teams’ abilities to work together, and may also lead team members and leaders to dismiss ideas based on who they came from rather than their merit—ultimately hindering the organization’s innovation.

To help employees understand and manage their unconscious biases, Google has developed a set of “unbiasing” programs that help employees understand and manage their biases, and even provide tools for other organizations to facilitate their own unbiasing workshops. Research has shown that perspective-taking, a technique discussed in the unbiasing workshop, can be used to capitalize on the benefits of diverse perspectives and promote creativity in teams.

Team dynamics

A new post to Google’s re:Work blog reveals findings from a new internal study on teamwork. It revealed that it wasn’t who was on the team that mattered so much as how who was on the team interacted.

Google identified five key predictors of successful teams: psychological safety, dependability, structure and clarity, meaning of work, and impact of work. It noticed that the team dynamic found to have the most significant influence on team success was psychological safety, which is how comfortable team members are in sharing ideas and being vulnerable with one another.

Given that psychological safety has been shown to facilitate knowledge sharing, vitality, as well as learning, it is no surprise that it is consistently found to be one of the key ways in which teams as well as organizations can foster creativity.

Not only does Google’s new re:Work site provide useful information and tools for fostering innovation, its willingness to share its best practices and build a hub of ideas for ways to “make work better” is a remarkable innovation in and of itself.

Tamara Friedrich is an associate professor of entrepreneurship and innovation at the University of Warwick. This piece was originally published onThe Conversation.

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