For the sixth year in a row, search engine and tech giant Google find themselves at the top of the list of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For. With more than 50,000 employees worldwide, one might ask how Google manages to foster an environment that allows their employees to rank them so high so consistently.
Based on the responses to the survey used in Fortune’s rankings, employee engagement and satisfaction appear to be the keys to Google’s success, not just as a profitable company, but as one people are eager to work for. Take it from a very happy Google employee:
“I have never worked any place like this. It feels like working at a cross between Harvard, Hogwarts and NASA. The atmosphere and culture is truly unique and unlike anything I’ve ever experienced elsewhere.”
The Specifics of Employee Engagement at Google
At this point, I’m guessing that none of your team have ever described working for your company in such a fashion. I’m also guessing that you would not describe your job in similar terms. Culture can be an abstract term and, as a result, leaders talk about it but nothing in the company ever changes – except wall placards. Here are the concrete things Google employees are experiencing:
- 95% of Google employees say that managers trust them to carry out their responsibilities without micromanagement
- 94% say they carry a lot of responsibility in the organization
- 94% say they receive the training and development they need to further their careers
- 91% say they that they consistently carry meaningful responsibilities
- 90% say they regularly enjoy their colleagues and find their workplace to be fun and cooperative
- 89% say they find the company compensates them fairly and that employee benefits offer a unique opportunity for work/life balance
- 87% say they consistently experience a free and transparent exchange of ideas and information
- 84% say their work at Google is more than just a job, that the chance to change the world through their technology provides special meaning for them
- 83% say their managers often or almost always act with integrity and care
- 79% say that promotions consistently go to those who best deserve them
Google employees believe their leaders are consistently engaged with them, which in turn increases their engagement. Notice if you are starting to rationalize this data. “These surveys are rigged. I know an ex-employee at Google who wasn’t happy.” “It’s easy to do if you’re Google and printing money and have a monopoly, my business is…” If you are resisting the data, then either you’re a cynic or lack the skills required to engage employees. If it’s the later, you’re not alone. We all need to acquire the sometimes counterintuitive skills and executive capacity to engage others.
Google leaders focus on making sure employees operate with a high level of responsibility and standards of excellence; they convey trust; they invest in quality training to further business and personal growth; their goals are to increase happiness and self-worth. Ask yourself, “How much time do I spend each day on these activities? How deep is my relationship with the people who lead? How can I extricate myself from doing tasks and doing the work of my direct reports instead of developing happy employees who feel good about themselves? How much time do I spend working on myself so I have the skills and awareness to be the kind of leader I want to be?”
If you remain cynical I will point you to large bodies of very credible research that shows the correlation between happiness, engagement and performance.
How important is employee engagement to your company?