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Best HR Ideas for 2012: Magnet

This idea by Google Inc. in Mountain View, Calif., is one of the Best HR Ideas for 2012. See the rest of them here.

Thursday, March 1, 2012
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Google is becoming something of a regular fixture in this annual feature.

Last year, HRE recognized the Mountain View, Calif., company for two best HR ideas: one involving LGBT benefits; the other, its Project Oxygen program. This year, it earns a much-deserved spot thanks to Magnet, a platform that enables career development.

Launched March 1, 2011, Magnet applies Google's technological prowess to helping employees manage their careers. Through it, Google employees are able to build a robust network based on shared skills, experiences and interests, and can see what specific careers paths other employees have taken.

The tool was designed without a heavy-handed HR presence, according to Sunil Chandra, director of People Technology & Operations at Google. "We really wanted to encourage interaction between Googlers -- so searches are private and conversations stay between [employees] ... ," he says.

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Google built the tool internally because it couldn't find "anything that met our needs around social interaction, user interface and speed of execution," Chandra adds.

If adaption rates are any indication, employees have clearly taken a liking to the platform. To date, the company says, 81 percent of Googlers have used it, spending an average 15 minutes per visit.

In comparison, Google says, the average duration spent on any single web page on the Internet is less than one minute.

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