Ruth Porat, CFO of Alphabet
Adam Galica | CNBC
Ruth Porat, Chief Financial Officer of Alphabet, said the company is seeing pre-pandemic levels of productivity among employees – thanks to leadership coaching and employee surveys.
“What we saw in the early days of Covid, we saw a slight drop in productivity, especially at the junior level.” Porat said at the New York Times DealBook conference on Wednesday. “That told us we had to really double up: What coaching do our executives need to help their younger employees? We’ve had a real surge in G2G training we call Google-to-Google training. We think we are pretty much on par with pre-Covid. “
Porat said the company conducted many “pulse surveys” to determine what is important to employees and to enable them to evaluate their own productivity. Porat added that the company has added more detailed team meetings and more frequent check-ins with employees, as well as more work with employee resource groups. She said executives “marry the data on what’s wrong with coding” to see how productive people are.
“We feel more connected now and the feedback feels like we’re on this long journey with Google and we’re in a really good place where the googlers’ vibes are strong.”
At the start of the pandemic and ahead of other tech companies, Porat led the company’s crisis response to the pandemic and urged Google employees to prepare for mobilization at a “big moment”. The company was one of the first to order its employees to work from home, moving its employees from its offices in Asia in February and the US in March.
Porat drew on her experience of managing economic crises in her previous roles on Wall Street, she said at the conference on Wednesday.
“In a crisis, you are faced with the least bad choices,” she said. “It was a new muscle for Google because Google really had the best of the best options for so much of its life.”
During the summer, Google extended its voluntary work-from-home option to the summer of 2021, but executives have since stated that it is working on a “hybrid” return model after surveys showed employees would want to return to the office at some point, but not every day.
Planning to return to the offices was “far more complicated” than getting everyone to work from home, Porat said on Wednesday. She noted that there will be security measures and will try to maintain the same quirk, serendipity, fun, and collaborative culture.
“We are thinking about how we can use these technologies and tools so that you can live in this hybrid world,” said Porat at the conference. “We’ll keep experimenting and looking at a lot of different formats.”
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