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The Strategic Context of HRM – Case Study Report

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Human Resources
Wordcount: 3954 words Published: 23rd Sep 2019

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The Strategic Context of HRM – Case Study Report

Within this report I shall be critically analysing the external and internal context of Google PLC, I will ensure I use PESTLE and SWOT which I believe are the correct tools for analysing. After I examine Google with theories and practices I will consider informing them with the recommendations that they should adopt to ensure that their business can reach success.


By using a SWOT analysis to establish some of the key contemporary issues and theories of Google it will allow me to find out what their current strategic approach is to manage their employees as they are what gives them a competitive advantage, also this will help find their implications that it has on HRM.

The strengths of Googles HR, their advantages, their technology growth has shown that the opportunities at Google are vast as the world cares more about artificial intelligence. Google’s HR ensures they pick the right strategies, methods and techniques for their selection process as they ensure they only pick the highest standard of workers. The way they train their employees have allowed them to have a high retention which also allows them to only attract the right types of candidates which would increase performance and concluding to have human resource capabilities (Panmorecom, 2015). The company uses things such as promotions, transfers, trainee and interns for their internal recruiting approach. With their external recruitment it would include attracting candidates from institutions which would be direct, or they would use websites that advertise jobs which is an indirect way of communicating their openings. Google is always looking for the new generation of people who have more and fuller ideas, this is where HR needs to diversify themselves to hire different types of people who come different backgrounds and stages of life. They wish to have people who bring an array of experience and skills that will help support the organisation. By having those employees with experiences, they wouldn’t need to spend the same amount of money or time on that training programme.

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The weakness that HR Google faces is those sexual misconduct allegations, gender inequality and systemic racism, where thousands of employees staged a walk out during the protest, leaving Google brand ruined. Google opened their ears to staff who had taken part in the protest where they had given Google ideas on how they could change policies and the processes they have, therefore stating from Google they will take them into consideration (Jose fermoso, 2018). Equal gender pay, and diversity were said to be a high priority and will be implemented and a improved reporting procedure. It has expanded their sexual harassment training but there is still negatives which still have the female employees in a position where they do not feel powerful or confident in the organisation (Kim elsesser, 2019). Google has been blind to the size of this issue, HR would have gotten the claim through the victim through their procedure then should have continued with a contingency approach which would have helped the situation before it had gotten worse. Google has now a hard problem to tackle, if they wish to be one of the top ten practices they must ensure they have a safe environment for their staff to work in but after this accident they would their mindset altered all these claims of harassment. It is HR’s job to now rebuild that trust with their employees (Empxtrackcom, 2008).

The Opportunities of Google, a HR management strategy is the 20 percent time policy which launched in 2013, this allows employees time to work on an individual project within working hours in addition to their regular project. This gives them the chance to be creative and innovative. This policy has seen success and has give great outcomes such as Google news, Gmail and AdSense (Businessinsidercom, 2019). However, in recent years some people have struggled to contribute 10% of their time due to their regular projects, this is not a requirement and it is not combined with their contracts, but if the company gains a competitive advantage, a strategy should be introduced and combine the 20 percent time into employee contracts or policies and processes, perhaps look at the 5p model of HRM Schuler (1992) stage 4 of HR practices, this is where HR activities to implement HR policies and programs are carried out, the 20 percent time can be included as part of the learning and development programme. Perhaps by taking part in such activity, individual performance is feasible. One of HR’s practices is to endorse work – life balance, but to manage everything according to the HR function is seen as a transactional function, with additional projects bringing up a large part of an employee’s day and 20% can make employees not want to take part in it.

Googles HR’s threats to legal issues can be a barrier to productivity, it can be a barrier to employee engagement (Chloe Taylor, 2015), sexual harassment in Google, gender inequality has lifted many questions about employee relations, challenges and practices within the firm. Google’s approach was always soft, its employee management system deems its staff as an important resource for the company’s success, these legal issues will have an effect on human capital management. Google has currently conducted extensive sexual harassment training, but this can isolate female employees. However, this can decrease HR practices, as more research is needed during the verification process, a person’s background check, personal confidentiality must be retained, as some information must be shared with foreign entities even during the recruitment process.


I am now going to conduct a PESTLE analysis to further research how the external factors influence the practices and processes of HRM within Google PLC.

Political issues that put pressure on Google’s HR would consist of them being a global company which means they would have people from all over the world who work for them . This would be any changes to Visa applications and permits undertaken by the Government would restrict amazing candidates from entering the country and not allowing them to work. The Tier 1 visa replaced the old highly qualified migrant program, it covers 4 categories and the person applying should score at least 95 points to apply for the right visa successfully (Ukpermitscom, 2019). However, if a visa route is shut down and the employee also have a previous visa with a certain kind of permit, your options must be expanded. Which can be a challenge for Google’s individual and HR. There is no guarantee about the outcome which puts a strain on human resources practices, such as workforce planning, as you do not tell the future, leaving the company in a precarious position to either wait or fill such a highly skilled position. Google’s HR in the USA faces further issues and uncertainty regarding the H-1B Visa which is a permit for foreign workers in speciality roles, as the president of the United States of America has planned to revise the visa, this move shall have more of an opposing effect on IT professionals, the Technology companies depend on this as they hire tens of thousands of candidates every year from India and China.

Economic issues that Google’s HR faces is the equal pay dispute as they have to face the risks of policies about gender pay, reputational risks and operational risks which affect practices of retaining female talent (Bloombergcom, 2019). Google’s tactic to accomplish long – term goals and objectives hinges on its large management of human capital, but this gap between the two genders of male and female employees surely affects employee satisfaction and it can create risk factors across the board, which would in fact create a negative atmosphere that affects other human resources practices such as safe, healthy and happy workplaces and employer relationships. Because of these issues that Google faces, HR would need to ensure they can be strong as they are the main function of an organisation which can show that they can be weak which makes the company look weak.

A social issue that HR faces is the fact that Google isn’t very diverse as they have there are 69.1% male, 30.9% female employees. The race and ethnicity, 36.3% are Asian, 53.1% white, 0.3% native American, 2.5% black, 3.6% Latinx and 4.2% two or more race (Businessinsidercom, 2019). One of the issues that they had brought up was that women of all ethnicities had not been represented in Googles workforce, which is the opposite of men who are within the same ethnicity. That is a significant prosecution and can cause question no matter how you look at it and a more noteworthy test for the HR. The HR rehearses for example perceiving diligent work, they can extend their remunerating procedure through advancements offering broad preparing in regions that intrigue competitors as opposed to what aptitude hole the organization feels are required to fill.

Technological issues at Googles HR, in any case the reality Google is a mechanical giant regardless it requires a huge human power to execute its objectives and targets. HR is continually being compelled to discover techniques for enrolment that is financially savvy. As of late Google has declared its most recent programming an instrument that guides HR divisions for enlistment the executives, this was focussed predominantly on taking care of the issue of enrolment, it contains a candidate following framework to enhance employing proficiency (People matters pte ltd, 2017). The test googles HR is looked with is to discover an answer that will regard hopeful’s security, as Google contracts moving point is that it utilizes applicant data from different sources. Additionally, another worry is that google offers a moment bolster benefit, however as of now picking up help from Google can take up to days which isn’t attainable (Fasttrack360couk, 2018)

Technological issues at Googles HR, regardless the fact Google is a technological giant it still requires a large human capital to execute its goals and objectives. HR is always being pressured to find methods of recruitment that is cost effective. Recently google has announced its latest software a tool that aids HR departments for recruitment management, this was focussed mainly on solving the problem of recruitment, it contains an applicant tracking system to improve hiring efficiency. (Google, 2018). The challenge googles HR is faced with is to find a solution that will respect candidate’s privacy, as Google hires selling point is that it uses candidate information from various sources. Also, another concern is that google offers an instant support service, but currently gaining support from Google can take up to days which is not feasible (Fasttrack360couk, 2018) 

Legal issues that Google is battling till date, is the antitrust charges in the EU since 2009 and India since 2012, these charges are around the manipulation of its paid and organic search processes to favour its own properties such as you tube, google maps, shopping and News. To solve this problem Google has been required to develop a plan, to give the competing online shopping services equal treatment. This is a big challenge for HR. Furthermore, the recent sexual harassment allegations have supplementary pressure to the HR of Google, it is unable to determine the current HR practices in use for managing legal issues however, it is evident they have combined the bundling strategy, for instance integrating extended training in sexual harassment, focussing more on the theoretical side of learning and development, hoping to create intrinsic motivation, and make a difference to individual behaviours this illustrates they have incorporated theories of DeCharms (1968) “who believed intrinsically motivated behaviours results from a desire to experience personal causation”. (L.Deci, 1985). This can also have implications as some of his theories may be outdated and may not be relevant to the advancing world of work.

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Googles HR tackles daily issues of accelerating new demands and requirements there is always an emergence for new skills and practices, they face many environmental issues within the workplace setting, the organisational culture and conflict, dealing with the union, it is essential that employee relations are maintained through effective communication, ensuring the comfort of HR employees, allowing sufficient breaks as it is a demanding job, encouraging organisational culture by embracing transparency, recognise and reward valuable contributions, cultivate co-worker relationships, practice flexibility, share success and challenges. Currently at Google employees work long hours, little time is available for other commitments, HR seems to apply hard HRM practices obliviously to ensure good results but, this can impact the role of HR, it needs to be more ethical towards its employees within the HR environment, this will ensure increased productivity it will support the organisation to shift their focus from short term profits to long term sustainability. (Baczor, 2018).


After conducting an internal and external analysis on the context of HR at Google my research illustrates that they are practicing a blend of soft and hard HRM approach, according to some of their current practices, I am able to identify that they are using the Ulrich model to guide their organisation to success, the HR roles at Google can be identified in the four segments of the Ulrich model. Google has a flat structure this conveys HR employees have more responsibilities and they are able to collaborate with management and be involved in the decision making process, I mention this because, a business partner normally works collaboratively with managers of the organisation to carryout strategic management and overseeing employment relations, resourcing, reward etc. (Shingal, 2018). Google PLC is a global company after examining the internal context of the organisation it will be wise to adapt certain theories to the existing practices at Google to solve the issues relating to their recruitment and selection process, theorist (Boxall and Purcell, 2000) explain that employees should be better regarded and involved into the corporate strategy to seek commitment, retain them and make them contribute to the corporate performance. Googles HR must combat larger issues, one which is a weakness and a legal matter considering all the laws surrounding such concern, HR already has many policies regarding sex discrimination in place, but the situation still occurred and became a national news. However, the equal employment opportunity commission has extended the definition of sexual harassment and included a range of actions, this lead to a hostile working environment, this is is not desired at Google who wish to have a peaceful working environment, but a balance must be discovered so personal space of male and female employees are valued. (Price, 2018). The diversity issue falls under the Equality Act, data gathered determines there is a significant difference in the employment of different race also to mention equal opportunities to all employees, I would suggest a fair evaluation system is introduced this will help link individual performance to corporate business goals, also Google should take this opportunity to highlight top performers, make them visible through company intranet etc. HR should consider diverse focus group an activity that combines employees from different ethnic backgrounds allows them to bond and communicate on a casual level.

Also, after exploring further, I discovered the 20% work time introduced by Google was a very good opportunity, but the external analysis conveys that the environmental issues within HR are causing hindrances for employees to make time for additional projects. There is a lot of pressure within HR, there is an increased demand from management, one area that Google must invest in is creating a work life balance for its employees, it should revise and align rewards with business strategy and employee needs, they should consider offering tangible rewards such as holiday vouchers. This will also motivate them, here I will suggest Herzberg, two factor theory of motivation, it is vital to highlight motivators and if the hygiene factors are not met this can become a demotivator, this can be extremely beneficial if it is integrated into the practices of HRM at Google. (EDEXCEL, 2018).

Political factors hinder retention of talent, in Googles case it is a Global company, HR sources talent from all over the world, it is something that HR cannot control however HR should be weary of candidates with certain Visas and the limitations it contains, only to be more cost effective.


After analysing the HR at Google PLC, I would like to conclude by providing recommendations of certain HRM approaches that Google must adopt to ensure business success, I would advise that Google adopts the theory of Delery and Dotty, (1996) (Delery, 2016) and considers the contingency approach as this allows flexibility and provides the company to make adjustments according to situations. The disadvantage of this approach is that there is a lot of uncertainty. Google is a Global company an ethnocentric approach to its recruitment and selection practices will enable success with organisational culture, however there may be difficulties in guiding employees or face government restrictions. Nevertheless, I will certainly recommend the Harvard framework it widens the context of HRM to include employee influence and emphasises strategic choice. Googles HR is overworked due to regular high demands and changes, very less recognition is made on high performers I would propose that Google incorporates the matching model of HRM ( Fombrun et al, 1984) he believes that the rewards system is the most underutilised and mishandled managerial tool, that a strategy needs to be initiated that will monitor performance of HR employees and reward short term and long term achievements. (Raghunath, 2018). The sexual harassment issue has left the organisation in scrutiny, one of the main most difficult areas that HR needs to tackle is re-building employee relations and its reputation. McGregor’s theory X and Y is an excellent theory and easily applicable can benefit if practices can be adapted from both theories, it emphasises on the importance of supervision and rewards and penalties, yet theory Y encourages employees to be more independent which develops job satisfaction. Theory X is a perfect option for planning a crisis in 1982 Johnson and Johnson recalled and destroyed 31 million capsules at a price of $100 million which was contaminated with cyanide, it informed consumers and introduced tamper resistant packaging at short notice, prices of the product soon went back to normal regardless of the fatalities and the robust crisis plan drawn from the guidance of McGregor’s theory X (Tools, 2018). Implementing theories into HR practices means updating policies, that can be time consuming and costly for the company, but it will certainly ensure business success, a trial period should be introduced and monitor the performance over a small period of time, every three month and make amendments and modify if it is not feasible.









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