Implemented in its earliest days, in part to help it recruit original thinkers, Google’s 20 Percent Time–a policy that allows employees to spend a fifth of their work week doing something other than their actual job–may be as good as dead.
This is according to former employees who spoke to news site Quartz anonymously. Google has not officially announced that the program is no more, but former employees have said (both to Quartz, and in public forums) that it’s at the very least dead in practice. Apparently, engineers have to request 20 Percent Time and managers are told to discourage it. According to Quartz, if employees want to meet their targets, they need to devote 100% of their time to their primary tasks. That means, taking 20% for creative thought is technically allowed, but actually impossible.
Google engineers responded to Quartz, insisting that the program is alive and kicking. But if it’s not functioning the way that it should, how does that bode for the many companies over the last several years who have cribbed the idea? On the 2013 PROFIT 500 alone, there are a handful of companies whose CEOs say they’ve adopted the HR approach. We even suggested it as one of the 30 Best Business Practices of all time.
What do you think? With Google struggling to make the now-famous HR tactic work, do you still believe that it’s a good idea? Answer the poll and leave your comments below.
Read: one writer’s response to companies who say that they can’t afford to have their employees spend the equivalent of one day a week on “extracurricular” activitiesOriginally appeared on PROFITguide.com