The recipe for a productive work force comes down to one main ingredient according to Larry Page, CEO of Google, – treat employees like family. He claims: “It’s important that the company be a family that people feel that they’re part of the company, and that the company is like a family to them. When you treat people that way, you get better productivity.”
Google topped Forbes list of best places to work for the fifth year in a row this year, and recently, for the first time, the company was hailed Glassdoor’s Best Place to Work 2015. The company’s work culture seems true to its philosophy: “To create the happiest, most productive workplace in the world.” With such accolades under his belt, it’s clear there are very few people more qualified than Larry Page to educate on the best practices for promoting happiness and productivity in the workplace.
Larry Page’s attitude towards workplace culture has been celebrated as a sustainable solution to a happy workforce. The family approach is remarked as a means to establishing a foundation of trust, united as one with the greater goals of the entire company in mind.
So how exactly can you instill the family value ethos in a global company of over 40000 employees?
Larry Page has a few recommendations:
Promote personal health and well being
Google employees enjoy additional perks not found in commonly in the workplace. Larry says: “We really make health care convenient and easy and faster, which I think helps people stay healthy. If your access to health care involves you leaving work and driving somewhere and parking and waiting for a long time, that’s not going to promote healthiness.”
Heath perks range from free massages to maternity leave of up to 18-weeks at full pay. The Googleplex features onsite doctors and a free fitness center with access to a trainer in addition to this, healthy gourmet meals prepared by gourmet chefs, are supplied each day by the company free of charge.
Permit Work Flexibility
Larry recently claimed: “I totally believe we should be living in a time of abundance,” said Page. “Think about what we need – housing, security, education for our kids. The amount of resources and work to do that is pretty small. I’m guessing less than 1%. The idea that everyone needs to work frantically to meet people’s needs is not true.”
Google’s employees are allowed greater flexibility on their hours of work in fact; the firm allows each of its employees to give 20 percent of his time – which equates to one day per week – to pursue what makes them happy – whether it’s working on another project or even just sleeping.
Give Everyone a Voice
Google operates as a democracy, fostering a process where employee opinions and suggestions are shared and heard. Larry Page encourages turning ideas into actions: “Almost everyone who has had an idea that’s somewhat revolutionary or wildly successful was first told they were insane.”
This is achieved through employee forums held weekly where there is an examination of the 20 most asked questions. Employees are encouraged to make use of any of a number of channels of expression to communicate their ideas and thoughts. Employees are also routinely surveyed via the Googlegeist – the company’s largest survey which seeks feedback on hundreds of issues and helps company bosses focus on what’s working and the areas that need improvement.
Practice Constructive Discipline
When corporations adopt a family culture approach to the workplace it also comes with building an environment where trust and cooperation are cultivated – Family members don’t “write up” other family members; they support and nurture when they can and this is behavior Larry Page exemplifies with his employees.
Famously, over ten years ago Larry Page printed out results from Google’s AdWords engine and wrote in large letters at the top of the report: “THESE ADS SUCK” and posted it in Google’s kitchen. Why didn’t he reprimand or carry out an investigation? Because he knew that someone would immediately take care of the problem.
Rather than yelling at the AdWords team, requesting a meeting or firing someone, Page opted to post the results publicly, knowing that someone would immediately take care of the problem.
The Workplace Culture Guru
Many employees at Google comment that the culture feels like that of a start up, an open environment where creativity and productivity thrives. Larry Page has successfully managed to align the culture of the Google workplace to that of a family, one which nurtures, cares for, empowers, and facilitates a work life balance to its employees. So often is the case, where work and home life are almost inseparable, Larry Page’s approach makes complete sense in bridging the gap and fostering success.