Find Top Leaders The Google Way – But Faster

Back in 2008, Google launched Project Oxygen to determine what makes a great manager. How can the findings acquired via this complex five-year project be adapted to effectively and efficiently serve organizations of all shapes and sizes?

Determining the qualities that make top leaders and finding talent that fits the bill is laborious and time consuming. Just ask Google.  

A team of Google’s researchers set out to irrefutably determine what makes good leaders. This was achieved by identifying the most common behaviours amongst the company’s highest-performing managers – a program that came to be known as Project Oxygen

A brief history of Google’s Project Oxygen

The efforts of Project Oxygen’s researchers culminated in the production of a list of eight behaviours, which were ultimately incorporated into Google’s manager development programs. As a result, Google noted an improvement in management alongside several other team outcomes including employee turnover, satisfaction, and performance over time. 

Top 10 Behaviours

The project was revisited as recently as 2018 when an updated list of 10 behaviours was released

How can this research be applied in a wider context to support more organisations with their leadership hiring practices? 

AbilityMap’s take on finding Top Leaders

Inspired by Project Oxygen, AbilityMap embarked on the challenge of automating the process to define the core leadership capabilities each business requires.  

We know that line managers, recruiters, senior leaders, and organizations with wide-reaching workplace cultures often have very different priorities and inherent biases that affect how they perceive leadership success.

“What I have found to be one of the biggest issues facing businesses is that line managers seldom have a unified view on the required capabilities for high performance in a role.”

Kevin Chandler – Co-founder of AbilityMap

Leveraging AbilityMap’s unique software, Kevin – a highly regarded Industrial Psychologist – applied a scientific process to narrow down Google’s behaviour traits and produce a weighted list of AbilityMap capabilities. 

“The AbilityMap capability framework is something I’ve been working on for a number of years,” says Kevin. “It’s a culmination of my research and comprises of 31 core capabilities by which we can measure jobs and people.”

How to identify Top Leadership Talent

1. Identify bad hires

A poor hiring decision causes irreversible damage to your organisation. The United States Department of Labor, for example, estimates the cost of a bad hire to be up to 30% of the new employee’s annual salary. Furthermore, not only does a poor performer impact company productivity, but their unfortunate managers are forced to spend around 17% of their time providing additional supervision. 

We’ve designed our tool to be integrated at the very start of the recruitment cycle, so your organisation can accurately and fairly rank candidates and employees before making those painfully unsalvageable and expensive hiring decisions.  

2. Driving an efficient and accurate recruitment process   

As of the end of 2021, Alphabet (Google’s parent company) had 156,500 full-time employees. In the same year, Google’s revenue amounted to a staggering 256.7 billion U.S. dollars.  

We know that most organisations simply don’t have the capacity, funds, or staffing to undertake the kind of massive research projects a company like Google can. That’s why we’ve simplified and accelerated the process.   

Our scalable tool can achieve in five days what Google’s researchers accomplished over the course of several years. No matter the size of your organisation or the number of resources and budget you have at your disposal, we’ll help to define what leadership success looks like for you.  

It’s important to note that, as evidenced by Google’s decade-long research, the behaviours associated with a high-performing manager in 2008 are not the same as the ones required today, and expectations will likely continue to shift and evolve over time as does the nature of work.

3. Identifying top talent that meets your business requirements  

Profiling the traits of top leaders is an important component of any successful recruitment programme. But a further challenge comes with identifying these inherent leadership traits in people so that a hiring organisation might either place them in management roles or begin the process of preparing them for future leadership success.   

To manually measure and rank candidates against a set of capabilities is a lengthy and typically inaccurate process. Not to mention that unconscious biases are bound to impact the decision-making process and lead organisations to making bad hires. A 2020 study by BrightTalk, for example, found that 79% of HR professionals believe unconscious bias exists in recruitment and succession planning decisions.  

Fortunately, AbilityMap’s tool can objectively compare existing employees and job candidates against these needs and each other. Employers can subsequently act on this information with confidence to hire the best candidates into management positions or invest in existing employees who possess strong leadership potential.  

Top Leader presents

Identify talent with strong leadership potential

Our next-generation software identifies team members and job candidates with the prowess to be great leaders now and in the future. Here’s how it works: 

  • Define the specific capabilities required for a leadership role 
  • Compare existing employees and job candidates against these needs and each other in an unbiased manner, and  
  • Act on this information with confidence to hire the best candidates into management positions or invest in existing employees who possess strong leadership potential.  

See AbilityMap in Action

Request a demo to learn how we can redefine the future of work together.​