There’s a well-known maxim in the business world: People leave managers, not companies. Everyone’s heard some version of this sentiment, but it’s not super helpful if it’s not understood what factors play into leaving a manager . . . or, conversely, what qualities make a manager worth sticking around for. In 2008, Google set out to answer that question. Code-named Project Oxygen, the effort identified several behaviors that were common among their highest-performing managers and began training all their managers to develop those behaviors. Over the next decade, the company saw significant improvement in key metrics like turnover, employee satisfaction, and productivity. First, managers were encouraged to empower team members rather than micromanage them. They also created an inclusive environment for their team and demonstrated concern for team members' well-being and ultimate success. They were productive and results-oriented while sharing information transparently and listening to the concerns of their workers. "[By practicing these behaviors] we found that, over time, the qualities of a great manager at Google had grown and evolved along with the company," Melissa Harrell and Lauren Barbato wrote earlier this year about the program. Harrell works as a staffing services manager at Google, and Barbato as a people analyst.
Google Spends a Decade Studying What It Means to Be an Effective Manager