Image: Google Logo

Employee Engagement Case Study: Google

How can we maintain engagement in the modern workplace?

In researching the top companies in the world that are smashing the employee engagement game; I couldn’t leave out a key, innovative (and arguably the best) player: Google.

“Nurturing the people in your organization doesn’t require expensive perks or touchy-feely gimmicks. It’s about motivating, engaging and listening – and it can work for anybody.” (Laszlo Bock, Google’s SVP of People Operations)”

To achieve motivation, engagement and focus; Google’s ‘expensive’ physical perks and bonuses such as nap pods, free haircuts and an fully-serviced indoor gym facility have become available as a result of its ultimate success due to its hard working employees and motivating culture.

Within its HR division; the company has its own ‘People Analytics Team’; enabling it to recognize the major wants and needs of both individual workers and teams – The advantage of which is two-fold:

  1. Staff gain the maximum satisfaction and motivation to complete tasks at the best of their ability.
  2. The company itself maximizes productivity and efficiency as each of its employees are aligned to its values, goals and vision.

From this; the company has put a huge amount of investment into creating and promoting a ‘fun’ workplace. April Anderson elaborates: “Google offers its employees a workplace that combines work and play. Complete with scooter parking stalls, free late afternoon espresso shots, healthy snack bowls, and a full service gym, Google is working to provide a workspace that people appreciate and ultimately work harder for”.

If you’ve seen the movie ‘The Interns’, you’d know that Google’s workspace is anything but ordinary…However it’s not just the physical perks that matter. The company instills a sense of belonging and inclusion by valuing individual input of new employees from the very start. A hierarchy of management remains; yet everyone has an equal input into planning and decision making.

Flattened management approaches allow for greater communication, collaboration and inclusion. I’ve written about the advantages of inclusion and valuing input numerous times before; and it’s no secret that recognition is becoming a necessity for effectiveness in modern business practice, BUT Google gives engagement a unique touch.

Forbes explains that Google creates “an intentional culture” with an environment that pushes the boundaries of standard engagement activities. ‘Googliness’ is a huge a part of this ‘intentional culture’. By definition; it refers to a culmination of factors and assets an individual employee should have; such as being proactive, innovative, friendly, helpful… It’s pretty much everything a ‘good’ employee should be; rolled up into one simple term.

Google has also become well-known for its humorous tactics such as  April Fool’s Day jokes to maintain interest and motivation at work; such as changing it’s webpage banner to ‘MentalPlex’; a new search engine that can read a human mind to search for the thought-intended subject/topic (April 1st, 2000). The results were equally outrageous; in which after a few seconds a number of different error messages would appear such as “Error 01: Brainwaves received in analog. Please re-think in digital” – again this is a great example of creating a ‘fun’ culture.

All jokes aside however; Google further utilises unique strategies to maintain this ‘intentional culture’:

Tuition Reimbursement

Google: We’ll help you pursue further education that’s relevant to what you do. You must receive grades of “B” or better. Why a “B” or better? Because we said so. Tuition reimbursement is $12,000 per calendar year.

20-Percent Time

Google: We offer our engineers “20-percent time” so that they’re free to work on what they’re really passionate about. Google Suggest, AdSense for Content and Orkut are among the many products of this perk.

As TLNT states; “A strategic focus on people management is necessary because innovations come from people, and you simply can’t maximize innovations unless you are capable of recruiting and retaining innovators”.

The main job of these strategies are to give insight – by giving employees the chance to grow and implement their own inputs regularly; the company is regularly able to check if its staff are taking advantage of opportunities; enjoying their job and performing with their best foot forward.

“on average, each employee generates nearly $1 million in revenue and $200,000 in profit each year” [TLNT]

It is by no accident that Google are one of the most successful companies in the world today; and with the above statistics, the true power of non-monetary employee engagement is proven.

It can be firmly established that Google has achieved the one goal that most businesses around the world struggle to do – that is to generate a working environment that fosters growth in employee motivation, innovation, productivity and quality of work.


Engage and motivate with WooBoard; an employee recognition platform that encourages happier, more productive workplaces.
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photo credit:
mark knol via photopincc

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