Most of us have heard about Google’s generous employee benefits…gym memberships, free gourmet food, bowling alleys at work, nap rooms, etc. However, it’s not just all of those perks that have resulted in the company creating one of the best places to work in the world. It’s in Google’s DNA to create work environments that foster freedom, flexibility, and employee voice. Google has taken thrown out many traditional assumptions about management/supervision and HR practices.
One of the amazing aspects of their story is that they’ve grown from a 2-person startup to a company with 37,000 employees around the world. This growth has happened in less than 15 years. As they’ve grown in scope and size, they’ve been able to “scale up” their culture in an amazingly effective way. As they’ve expanded, they’ve been able to hold onto their culture of fostering freedom while having very high expectations for their employees.
This recent Fast Company article describes how Google has “totally re-engineered traditional HR to ensure a happy and profitable workplace.” The author wonders what the world would be like if every workplace took an approach like Google.
While it’s probably not realistic for many workplaces to completely recreate Google’s culture, it’s interesting to consider how other organizations can incorporate some of those key principles from Google. For example, how can a traditional firm allow for more freedom, flexibility, and employee voice while having high expectations? These are some of the key issues I work with both in my research and in my consulting work.