ATC Summary

Over the last few days I have published a number of posts summarising the sessions at ATC that I attended. However I wanted to pull together an overall summary of my thoughts from the event. This was my first ATC, mainly as I had now been in the position to attend before due to my previous corporate life which was a pity as I think attending in previous years would have been good. Well no point looking back let’s look forward.

First question was ATC worth the money? Yes. Even in the light of this GFC thing.

So what did I get out of the event to justify my expense?

  • Attending the sessions, while not all were good I took something from most of them. I could not say which was the best session, they were all different.
  • Meeting other Australian commentators such as Phillip Tusing, Jo Knox for the first time.
  • Catching up with Russell Kronenburg from Pacific Brands over lunch on the first learning in detail about some of their social media activities. They are doing awesome stuff!
  • Hallway time with the US speakers, most of whom I had never met in person, such as Master Burnett, Dr John Sullivan, Kevin Wheeler, Gerry Crispin, Charles Handler, and Sue Polo.
  • Having several business, dinner and social engagements organised with Master Burnett, Kevin Wheeler and Gerry Crispin for when I am in San Francisco for the Social Recruiting Summit next month. None of which would have been possible without ATC.
  • Catching up with locals like Riges Younan, Ross Clennett, Phillip Tusing, and the boys from Happener.
  • Meeting Belinda and Danielle from Buchan and chatting about marketing and PR, Daneille joined a number of us for dinner one night.
  • Meeting the Deloitte’s team (James Elliott and Tanyth Lloyd) and many other Australian organisations who are doing exciting things.
  • Chatting with Karen Cariss and Simon Cariss from PageUp People, Simon for the first time.

So as normal with these types of events, the sessions are good but it is the networking that makes it valuable.

If you are in any form of talent management, sourcing or a corporate recruiter and you did not attend shame. For transactional 3rd party recruiters I can see limited value, but if you are a 3rd party recruiter who wants to be ahead of the competition again shame you did not attend.

Another final comment there were several sponsor sessions most were traditional let’s try and sell you on our product. The PageUp session was different. PageUp approached their slot with an attitude of let’s inform the audience about something, virtually unrelated to their product but important to the audience, Twitter. The result was after the session their stand was the busiest of any of the stands over the two days, other than Hudson where we all went for good coffee.

Next Year: Yes.

ATC: Sue Polo Engineering and Operations Staffing Director, Google

Sue Polo from Google, Australian readers yes Google HQ, followed Dr Williamson with a fantastic look at not only Google as a corporation but also their staffing challenges. She provided us with so much information I did not get a chance to write many notes as she talked, but here are some of my top takeaways:

  • Google has 21,000 employees and $5.8 Billion revenue in 2008
  • Recruiting is now not the major focus at Google, the first time ever
  • Objectives generally being find them, grow them, keep them – The Google Way
  • A key challenge over the last few years through the dramatic growth has been how to keep their culture
  • You Tube is the 4th largest destination on the web and every minutes 15 hours worth of content is uploaded every day!
  • Food at Google is paramount; no engineer can be more than a 100ft from food!
  • They are now looking to grow their own staff and focusing on internal mobility
  • Nothing is done at Google without hard facts provided by data
  • Almost every decision at Google goes through some form of committee, I found this strange and unexpected. Effectively they strive to meet consensus not a democracy, and decisions are not based on HIPPOs – Highly paid persons opinions
  • Like many organisation they run an Annual Employee Survey:
    • Adoption – 85% of employees participate with tonnes of text feedback
    • Freshness – 70% of survey stays the same with 30% changing every year
    • Transparency – The results are delivered in tag clouds, tech talks, emails, and newsletters. Reports by Geography & Business are given to any manager with an n-count of 7.
  • Last year’s survey results:
    • Underperformance stick out like a sore thumb
    • Underwater options lots of concerns
    • Career development concerns
  • Employees said they would not leave due to the underwater options because the work is engaging!
  • To address the underwater stock they introduced two programs:
    1. TSO, transferrable stock options
    2. A repricing has been done but interesting as a 1:1, which is unique and everyone at Google got to trade, 93% of Googlers took advantage, and the process was done through a custom tool that took 3 clicks
  • Hiring process: initial resume screen, phone screen, then onsite interviews (up to 8 or 9 in a day), reviewed by hiring committees, then finally the executive management team. The committee reviewing and assessing the candidate and will probably not have the hiring manager involved.
  • With employee development the focus is on Google employees training Google employees, as most of the time they have all the experts on staff!
  • Performance Management is done quarterly with a system built in house again highly data driven. For example you can be rated on a scale of 1 to 5 like most organisations BUT at every tenth ie 3.4.
  • Semi Annual promotion process that is peer driven not manager driven
  • 15% is the smallest target bonus in google
  • On the Intranet you can put any title you want on your profile, there are no titles on doors etc, instead you get a special shirt that shows you have been promoted
  • At Google 40% hires are employee referrals
  • Sourcers teach the engineers how to use their networks to find candidates

I had the privilege of speaking with Sue one on one several times over the course of the two days. At one point we went a little deeper into the hiring process. Candidates self assess their technical skills using a scale of 1 to 10. Sue said that if someone puts a 10 down they had better have a) invented the technology, b) been on the industry bodies who invented the technology or c) written the book about it. If not then the person who did will be in the room interviewing you!