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The Work Environment at Google
Work environment plays a crucial role in promoting employee engagement and optimal performance in an organization. A good workplace induces positive opportunities and challenges that stimulate employees to adjust to work changes and increase their efficiency in the way work gets done (Dennis, 2015 p. 25). Organizations can ensure a good workplace environment by building an organizational culture that encourages employee engagement, effective leadership, motivation, and employee identity in the organization (Dekas et al., 2013p. 28). This paper will discuss the positive workplace environment at Google Inc., it was ranked as the best company to work for in the U.S in the year 2009, owing to its effective leadership styles and people-management strategies (Manimala & Wasdani, 2013). Our discussion will explore several aspects of a healthy workplace environment with Google being the reference point. Indeed, a positive workplace environment increases employee engagement and motivates them to share ideas and perspectives on the best way to achieve organizational goals. A work-life balance helps employees gain a sense of belonging to the organization thus optimizing their performance (Dekas et al., 2013).
The Work Environment at Google
Google’s work environment has contributed to the company’s long-lived success; it is characterized by frenzy employee benefits that are rarely present in other companies. Indeed, Google’s work environment promotes a work-life balance by focusing on the major aspects of positive work environment that promote employee engagement and organizational identity. These strategies include organizational culture, retention strategies, career development, leadership style, and employee engagement.
Google has a culture of innovation that has become part of its employee life and permeates through the organization. Its culture was not built overnight but has taken the company many years of hard work to reach where it is today (Manimala & Wasdani, 2013 p. 1). The positive innovative culture and a free work environment that Google provides to its employees makes them happy at work. The culture drives them to assume the responsibility of developing innovative products that contribute to the success of the company. The culture also induces creative thinking among employees who utilize all the opportunities they have both in the workplace and outside to come up with innovative technologies. The company values are central to its culture, and this ensures that employees’ values align with the company’s objectives and strategies. Saha (2013, p. 28) asserts that transparency and communication are crucial values at Google that encourage talent management and motivation. Google workers are passionate about what they do and bring in innovations from anywhere; the communication of information, as well as, transparency in the organization motivates employees to share ideas and exchange perspectives that improve performance. Through regular whiteboard discussions and sharing of ideas in the Google website “Google ideas,” employees ensure a strong, innovative culture that drives towards product improvement and development. The idea that ‘being Google is being intellectually smart’ motivates free thinking among employees. The recruitment of candidates is a holistic process based on innovation and creativity in order to ensure there is continuity of the Google culture. The spirit of innovation is then nurtured through mentoring and provision of a positive human environment where employees will grow and innovate. The reward system that Google uses to merit employees enables the company to keep the innovation tempo among its workers (Saha, 2013p. 31).
Google provides a work environment that motivates employees and keeps them happy. It rewards employees with benefits and perks that are meant to motivate them to realize an optimal output. According to Cook (2012), Google motivates employees by providing intrinsic rewards in the workplace to induce employee commitment and optimal performance. Effective leadership that empowers free thinking motivates employees to innovate. Gorey (2014) adds that Google provides the happiest environment for its workforce through initiatives that make work a lot of fun. Provision of affordable perks and benefits, training and attractive pay-scales also promote motivation at Google. The managers give employees inspiration and encouragement that elevates their zeal to work for Google (Brassfield, 2013).
Fig 1 shows the frenzy benefits Google offers its employees. Where else can one get such frenzy perks?
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The pioneers of Google were researchers who believed in independent thinking and innovation; factors that have shaped the leadership style at Google. According to Manimala & Wasdani (2013, p. 2) and Brassfield (2013), a good leadership style involves encouraging employees and empowering them to invent new technologies and innovations. The company believes that once the right employees have been recruited, then they should be provided with the freedom of independent thinking. The founders of Google do not dictate on the generation of new products. As a matter of fact, most of the new products at Google are generated as a result of the employees getting empowered to freely utilize their ideas and innovative strategies to invent them (Manimala & Wasdani, 2013p. 1; Vella, 2015). The people-management system that the company uses encourages employees to devote their time and concentrate on work. The provision of a “hassle-free” environment provides opportunities to share ideas and the innovation for new products (Manimala & Wasdani, 2013 p. 2).
Google has an effective career development program that ensures all employees remain competitive and innovative for long-term success. The career development policy at Google is one that ensures that employees are given opportunities to pursue their professional and personal growth. For instance, the company ensures that employees have flexible working hours where they could spend considerable time for personal development, as well as, professional learning (Manimala & Wasdani, 2013 p. 2).The strategy provides Google with high-quality employees who are able to innovate and mange change. As a result of its holistic approach to career development, Google has a strong human resource that is developed through job analysis and coaching of employees to match their job skills to requirements (Hachem, 2015). The HR managers come up with career options that suit individuals and offer support to promote diverse career paths. The employees at Google receive tuition reimbursement that they could use to pursue professional careers without difficulties (Hachem, 2015).
Google provides employees with a package of benefits that are meant to encourage employees to utilize their skills and expertise to maximize outcomes. On top of these, the company offers its workers world-class facilities that include dining, laundry, car wash, gym, salons, and child-care centers among other social facilities that provide employees with a work-life balance. The provision of these services gets employees fully engaged in their work since they do not have to worry about personal activities (Manimala & Wasdani, 2013p. 2).
Google encourages employee engagement by giving them the credit they deserve, as well as, acknowledging their value to the company. The initiation of actions that promote career prospects motivates employee engagement and commitment. Risher (2015) postulates that employees should be treated as good decision-makers and leaders should give them the freedom to decide and innovate. As such, employee engagement can be achieved by empowering them to take actions on their own. Risher (2015) asserts that employee engagement is best achieved by giving employees the freedom to act, a clear job description, performance-based rewards, effective goal-setting and making employee life easier. At Google, employees are given all the freedom to do their work, as well as, opportunities that improve work-life balance (Risher, 2015).
In the recent years, employee turnover at Google has been on the rise as key personnel depart the company. Key engineers, managers, and designers have been reported to have left the company to start own ventures. The departures have been attributed to most hires getting rich quickly thus being able to do what they want. This trend is scaring Google, and its future lies in the company’s ability to increase retention of employees. In order to counter the increasing turnover, Google is recreating its way of doing business to increase employee engagement. However, Google should balance resource allocation between engineers and other sections where employees are overlooked to reduce employee turnover (Lashinsky et al., 2008). Moreover, the company should implement effective employee training and mentoring to give employees a sense of worth and equip them with skills that match job requirements. Further, Google should encourage recruitment within the company to encourage retention. Focus on a positive culture is fundamental to impart employees with values that align with organizational values. Above all, good pay perks and other benefits will motivate and encourage employees to stay in the organization (Yazinski, 2009; Saha, 2013p. 31).
Table 1 shows a brief the comparison of Google and Apple work environment, which Google provides a better work environment for innovative minds.
Table 1: Comparison of Google and Apple Work Environment
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An attractive workplace environment is essential for the long-term success of companies and human resource management. Top companies in the world have realized the importance of a positive work environment. At Google, managers ensure that employees are happy at work through the provision of a positive environment that motivates employees through frenzy benefits, people-management, career development and treatment of employees. Every employee wants to be treated as a valued asset to the organization, which increases organizational long-term success.
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