Why Does Google Have the Most Satisfied Employees?

Posted by: Tom Post Date: 4th July 2017

Every employer is a lucky beneficiary of the fact that Google has spent millions trying to find out how to best engage their employees.

The huge company has the happiest people around, as a survey of 1301 employees gave Google a 99% satisfaction rating on training and chances at advancement, and scored 98% on great communication and bosses.

Even if your business isn’t a Silicon Valley titan, there’s plenty to learn from how Google finds the right employees and enhances their working life.

What Can Google Teach Us About Employee Engagement?

We dived into the quotes of Laszlo Bock, Google’s former head of human relations, to find out the simple ways that Google ensure employee satisfaction.

Building an empowered culture

When you join Google, no matter what the job, no matter where in the world, everyone gets stock.

Now, we’re not suggesting that this should be the standard for every business, but instead to think about what it represents. The idea is to make people take ownership of their work – to know what it takes to succeed in the role, and to give them the assurance and confidence that they are the expert in their field.

‘People will do better stuff if they feel like it’s theirs,’ says Laszlo Bock, ‘just the same way that people take better care of their personal car than a rental car.

The people who actually know what’s going on are the ones who are touching your users. They’re on the frontlines, and they actually have insights into how to make them better.’

 

Hiring and nurturing ‘Googleyness’

As well as cognitive ability, leadership, and role-related knowledge, Lazlo’s final trait when hiring is a person’s ‘Googleyness.’

About that last one – Google tries not to look for people who look like they’d instantly fit. Instead, the intent is to find someone different, offbeat, who can challenge the status quo. Google don’t want each colleague to become another number, but want to foster each person’s unique ideas and point of view.

When hiring, credentials aren’t Google’s biggest consideration. In fact, the proportion of people without any college education at Google has ‘increased over time.’

‘Successful bright people rarely experience failure, and so they don’t learn how to learn from that failure,’
says Bock.

When you look at people who don’t go to school and make their way in the world, those are exceptional human beings. And we should do everything we can to find those people.’

So, next time you’re hiring, keep an eye out for those with the grit to build their skills, learn quickly, and will thrive against all odds.

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Providing open paths of communication

Google see complete transparency as essential to their employees’ happiness and inclusiveness in the company’s mission. Communication doesn’t just get passed down the chain – it comes back up too.

We have a weekly all-hands that our CEO, Sundar Pichai, hosts with Larry and Sergey, our founders, where you can ask any question. You get updates on what’s happening in the company. Everyone’s goals in the company are visible to everybody else.’

Operating an ‘open door policy’ can be beneficial not just in a literal sense, but also within your processes – there are so many tools for teams to collaborate on projects and set clear, SMART goals for everybody to see. These include Trello, Airtable, and Slack.

 

Including absolutely everybody

Good managers will already be aware that the introverts in their team can make top leaders, but how can you bring the voice out of someone who prefers to stay quiet?

The introverts in your group may be sitting on the best ideas – so Laszlo insists on everyone voicing their opinion within team meetings to foster a collaborative environment.

 ‘Rarely does the person leading the meeting say, “Hey you know, we haven’t heard from Frank during this entire meeting. Frank, what do you have to say?” Or “Gail, you’ve been silent this entire conversation, do you have a perspective?”’

Laszlo also truly values one-on-ones with team members, insisting although they’re ‘kind of boring’, the team performs better when you take the time to conduct them.

It seems obvious, but putting the time to check in with your team can focus their goals, air out any difficulties, and drive them towards the business’s mission.

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