Three Things To Learn From Google's Workplace Culture
While it might be predictable that Google would become the king of the web and a trailblazer for technology innovations, there's something no one really saw coming a decade (plus) ago: Google becoming a leading exemplar of workplace culture. Sergey Brin and Larry Page even made it more unforeseeable, reading their founders' letter of 2004 where they avowed:
"Google is not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one."
Twist of fate. Consequence of all-round disruption. Whatever you call it, that "unconventional" company is hailed today for having one of the most enviable company culture, which makes it one of the best places to work in the world. And that honor isn't even a one-time show. Google topped Fortune's list of Best Companies to Work For for six consecutive years. The tech giant is also regular on Glassdoor's annual Best Places to Work list.
From a startling approach to employee morale to unparalleled culture of work-life balance, including awesome parental-leave policies, free healthy gourmet meals, fitness and laundry facilities, Google's successful culture has become a blueprint every organization must keep in practice. Here are three most important things your organization needs to learn from the model.
1. Google builds a herd of ecstatic employees
Keeping employees on the same page with company's vision is one herculean task. But for Google, that task is a piece of cake. The secret? Google keeps a big family of employees (over 88,000) who are splendidly driven by passion thanks to the company's culture of employee happiness. Going by numbers, 86% of Googlers say they're extremely or fairly satisfied with their job.
Larry Page describes the culture and its efficiency this way: "It's important that the company be a family, that people feel that they're part of the company and that the company is like a family to them. When you treat people that way, you get better productivity."
2. Google employees work as a team
Google has over 70 offices in 50 countries with 28 percent of its employees working from home or telecommuting. Yet, Googlers work as one efficacious team. Often said, effective teamwork is central to productivity, inventiveness and steady success of workers and companies alike.
But speaking of culture, it must be noted that teamwork has departed from the past: mere location-based collaboration. It's evolved and become more complex, diverse and dynamic thanks largely to digitization, the evolvement of tools that enable effective remote communication, virtual collaboration and sharing of resources. According to Smarp, a knowledge sharing, content hub and team collaboration platform, "contemporary teamwork entails helping employees and colleagues navigate through information overload, rise beyond it and become more enlightened, engaged and productive in the workplace."
No doubt, the culture of efficient teamwork and even the business of helping every other company on earth to achieve same is one of those things that make Google a leading brand.
3. Despite rigorous tasks, Google keeps things fun
As counterintuitive as it might sound, having fun at work is twice more effective than motivational talks aimed at stimulating employees. Fun at work reduces absence, boosts productivity and lowers levels of stress, finds this study by Bright HR.
Also in his book, Work Rules, Google's former HR Boss, Laszlo Bock, submits that keeping things fun in a hive of activity, constant innovation and experiment discharges employees' creativity juice. "What's beautiful about this approach is that a great environment is a self-reinforcing one: All of these efforts support one another, and together create an organization that is creative, fun, hardworking, and highly productive," he writes.
Why "Google' your company's culture?
Let's sum it up in the simplest terms– your employees want a cozy, enabling culture. Good pay, transparency and freedom are building blocks of that structure but it doesn't end there. Once you realize this, i.e. nothing in the world makes your company greater than a good culture, you'd quickly go the Google way and even develop onwards and upwards.
Your culture is your brand. And there's overabundance of studies and practical experience that affirm it as the recipe for your company's success. A study by Shiva Rajgopal of Columbia Business School and his team of scientists reveals that companies with good culture enjoy higher employee retention rate and stupendous profit, which is three times more profit per employee and four times faster revenue growth, according to a seperate research by John Kotter and James Heskett.