In a story detailing some recent updates to the two-year-old GoogleEDU program, The Wall Street Journal noted today that last year saw roughly 11,000 Google employees enrolled in the program’s classes as Google “cut classes that didn’t work and retooled others.” That is about one-third of the 33,100 Google employees worldwide.
“What’s important is that it aligns with our overall business strategy,” says Karen May, Google’s vice president of leadership and talent, who has led the revamping of GoogleEDU.
As part of the revamping of the program, the report described how Google is using data analytics and other methods to suggest new courses to employees:
It uses employee reviews of managers—similar to the instructor reviews that college students fill out at the end of a semester—to suggest courses to managers. Ever data-obsessed, Google uses statistics gathered from current and former employees to recommend certain courses to managers at different points in their career, say after a move to a new city or joining a new team.
Thus Google offers a special class for new managers and executives where they are taught how to exert influence in more subtle ways, says Ms. May. “One of the practicalities of a less hierarchical company is that you aren’t necessarily going to have the position power to decree something or dictate something,” she says.
Google has also begun offering specific classes based on an employee’s work area (engineering versus sales) and career stage (junior developer versus senior manager).
Google has not released any specific numbers on the GoogleEDU program, with Vice President of Leadership and Talent Karen May saying, “We do see in our overall satisfaction scores that it does make a difference when we invest in people.”