Human Resources



Century-long study aims to understand “how we work”

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Google is a company which relies heavily on data when making decisions – particularly those affecting their own employees.

So it comes as little surprise the organisation launched a study two years ago called gDNA to track and understand how people work – something its senior vice president of people operations, Lazslo Bock, hopes the company will continue for a century.

In a contributed blog post on Harvard Business Review, Bock said gDNA was inspired by an on-going 65-year-old study called The Framingham Heart Study, which provides continuous insights into heart diseases, weight loss and happiness, among other things.

“After more than a decade in people operations, I believe that the experience of work can be – should be – so much better,” Bock wrote.

“We all have our opinions and case studies, but there is precious little scientific certainty around how to build great work environments, cultivate high performing teams, maximise productivity, or enhance happiness.”

He shared gDNA will collect information about both the employees’ innate characteristics, and physical surroundings and influences, by asking questions about static traits, such a personalities, changeable characteristics, such as attitudes about culture, and work projects and colleagues.

“We then consider how all these factors interact, as well as with biographical characteristics like tenure, role and performance. Critically, participation is optional and confidential.”

He added the aim of the study is to learn how to better improve employee well-being, cultivate successful leaders, and boost employee engagement and happiness.

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