Bowling, swimming pools, volleyball courts, haircuts, massages, yoga, gym, pool, ping pong, foosball, xbox 360, Playstation, Food courts with specialized Chefs, laundry service, bicycles. These are not the benefits you will get at a 5 star hotel, but the advantages that Google employers have inside the Google Plex, The famous campus with over 8.000 employees that functions as the companies core, in the heart of Silicon Valley, California.
We will try to tackle the most Basic questions that come up when investigating this companies work, according to the surveys, having the happiest workers in the World.
Is all about productivity.
Google is a capitalist enterprise that responds to shareholders. The question is: Where does the value reside, why doesn’t it exploit its workers in order to make a bigger profit?
A big part of the answer is located in their search engine, which is nothing more that the accumulated efforts of its workers, from engineers to sociologists that save up so much time for others searching for answers online. Nonetheless, the competitive advantage is not about the amount of hours working but generating products and nuance methodologies. A big differential when comparing Google to its competitors resides in the creative stimulation that the employees receive and a structure that allows them to make their ideas a reality. The exploitation comes from an excess of creativity, striving for constant innovation.
In order for the employees to become more productive, Google needs them to be relaxed and confortable, with enough time to socialize and enjoy. That is why, Google has applied their “20% time program” for a long time. This allows Googlers(employees) to use a fifth of their working hours in their own projects that are not necessarily linked to the companies interest. They encourage workers to pursue their passions using tools that the company makes available for them. One of the biggest hits of this program is Google News, the news recompilation system from all over the world. A huge success.
This “20 % time program” is just the tipo f the iceberg of the optimization policies that employees find. The key is that eventually the worker’s projects will help Google generate more money. That is the biggest identity that google has with its employees, try to make them happy so they remain loyal and satisfied with their job, so their productivity doesn’t decrease.
Other odd information: When a Googler dies, the family will still receive 50% of the person’s salary for the next 10 years; the maternity leave of absense is 18 weeks, 6 weeks in the case of the fathers, the vacation time allowed for employers is 21 days. The internal and external branding campaigns gives amazing results: you can see hundreds of employees wearing different shirts with Google products, not only they are not obligated to use these, but they actually buy them at the closest Google Store.
We might wonder then, what should we think of a company that believes in the paradigm of a “happy” worker and relaxed being more productive that a tired one.
The average employees salary is around USD$74.000. So in average they pay USD$ 2.402.558.000 in salaries. Is this an effective strategy? Clearly, Googles annual net Worth is around USD$ 9.737.000.000, four times what it invests in its workers. But 74 thousand dollars a year is a lot lower than other companies in the same business area. This can show you that keeping workers happy is actually saving them money.
This analyzes pretends to open up a debate in the way companies see their employees and what does it mean for a company to have value, what does that value imply and how is the paradigm being shifted with ideas like this one.