An analysis of the organizational culture at Google
There are three important things that are absolutely outstanding about Google’s culture. They are risk taking, innovation and employee friendliness. At Google, the employees are challenged to take risks. Its foundation was laid on innovation and creativity is built into its culture. However, it is known not only for technological innovation and being the most user friendly search engine, but also for its employee friendly environment. The culture of Google has also been linked to its success. The organizational culture can be the key to success and a driver of performance as in the case of Google. Its employee friendliness is the most distinct feature of its culture.
For years continuously, Google has been ranked as one of the best places to work. Such cultures are most effective at motivating employees. In the 21st century, the importance of organizational culture has increased. Research has also highlighted the important role that culture plays in the making of an organization. It is at the root of several things including performance, productivity and the organization’s image. Organizations that have established a strong culture have seen success in the market and built a strong reputation for themselves. Google has also seen success based on its strong culture. Here is a discussion of the main features of its organizational culture that have led it to unprecedented success in the marketplace.
Innovation and creativity:
These are two most important focus areas at Google. Creative thinking underlies innovation and Google does everything to inspire its employees to think creatively. To improve the flow of innovative ideas from all the corners of the organization, Google has created an inclusive culture where everyone’s participation is encouraged. Undoubtedly, this is an inspiration for other organizations too. It has used several channels to encourage interaction and collaboration between the people. The Google cafes are designed to encourage interaction between employees across teams and to spark creative dialogues not just about work but other things too including fun. At Google they try to build as many channels through which the employees can express their creative ideas as possible. The organizational structure of Google is also designed in a manner that fosters creativity and innovation.
A relatively flatter structure allows for quick exchange of ideas between people at all levels without any hindrance. An interactive and collaborative environment is necessary to foster innovation and creativity. Google has used several channels for better employee engagement. In this way, it does not just engage its employees better but ensures that the best ideas find their way quick to the table. However, innovation is not all about work at Google. It ensures that it keeps its employees’ passion fired. It allows them time to get creative with the ideas and projects they are passionate about. Even if these things are not within the ambit of their core job, the employees can pursue the projects they like. From its search engine to the Chrome web browser and other magnificent innovations by Google, all of them are a result of the company’s focus on innovation and creativity. These things are so deeply enshrined in the company’s culture that one cannot think of them as separate from Google.
Google is also known for being employee oriented. The company does just so much for its employees that there are pretty few companies in the world which can match its benefits and perks. Not just perks and benefits, Google cares its best that none of its employees feels left out or undervalued. Each of its employees is valuable and Google loves to keep them happy. It is Google’s philosophy and aim to create the happiest and most productive workplace in the world. It has created an unorthodox workplace for the sake of its employees’ motivation. Apart from inclusion ad diversity, Google has enacted a number of policies that aim to create an employee friendly work environment.
It also aims to provide its employees with continuous learning and growth. Its leaders have particularly taken care of certain things like people are assigned to the tasks they are interested in and that they can learn continuously. The leaders also ensure that everyone feels challenged and that their contribution does not go unrecognized. Having a committed leadership has another important benefit too. It creates an environment of trust that makes employees happy and keeps them satisfied. However, the best thing about Google is that it has used the best mix of perks and benefits to create job satisfaction for its employees.
The HR’s role at Google with regard to employee satisfaction is critical. It plays an active role right from recruitment to performance management everywhere. Apart from hiring the best and managing them well, it also plays and active role in the formulation of employee friendly policies. Employee motivation always remains a key focus of the HR function. It has designed a great mix of benefits and perks some of which are listed below:
- Flexible works hours
- Casual dressing
- Onsite medical care
- Pets allowed
- Health benefits applicable soon after joining
- Free gourmet meals, drinks and snacks
- Onsite gym
- Expert help with financial management so that Googlers can remain worry free.
- Generous parental leaves
- Retirements saving plans
- Death benefits and so on…
Having employee friendly policies helps at keeping employees motivated and performing at their best.
User friendly culture:
Its users are a critical focus for the entire Google company. Google’s mantra is that if you are going to focus on the user, all the rest will definitely follow. From the predictive analysis in its search features to voice search, Google Maps and Google Earth, all of these are the result of its user orientation. All the Googlers are encouraged to focus on the user and design products and bring ideas that benefit the user. In this regard Google is ahead of all even its closest competitors like Microsoft and Apple. Google has proved that if you can create a great user experience the revenue will follow and you would not have to worry for anything. It maintains an environment of creative tension where the Googlers can think of what benefits their users the most.
Balance work with fun:
However technologically innovative the search engine giant, it is not all about work only. The Googlers also have ample space to have creative fun. The pressure is bound to remain inside any technological organization. However, it must not hurt employee morale or motivation. To ensure that its employees do not grow burnt out or start losing motivation, the search engine giant provides them with all the benefits and comforts that keeps them interested and motivated. They have been provided with flexible work hours so that they do not start feeling stressed.
The dressing rules are also relaxed and employees can come to work in casual dresses. They can also bring pets to work and are provided on site medical care. When it comes to food, the Googlers are luckier than all the employees in the tech industry. At work, they are provided with free gourmet meals, drinks and snacks. Not just this, there are subsidized massages, free yoga classes and free classes on stress management. Google does not believe in forcing people to work. Instead it believes in creating an environment that motivates them to perform at their best. Creativity cannot come without fun and Google has created a stress free environment for its employees, that fosters a culture of creativity and innovation.
Google’s culture is an inspiration for all the others. However, the problem is that it is just as difficult to imitate as it is strong. Establishing a culture of collaboration and trust is not easy, but still it is the first step if you are to create a culture of innovation and creativity. Most critical role is to be played by the leaders. If the leaders are committed and active, it will inspire trust into the followers. Google’s leaders have done an exemplary job in this regard. They have created an environment that inspires innovation. HR’s role in this regard is just as critical. Google’s HR policies are just as innovative that do not just focus on hiring and nurturing the best talent but also on providing all the fuel for motivation that keeps employees performing at their best.
http://www.economist.com/node/14460051 – http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/16/business/at-google-a-place-to-work-and-play.html