Google has been on Fortune Magazine’s list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For for 10 years. Seven of those years, it has garnered the #1 spot. I am sure you, like me, have read about the factors that have contributed to Google’s success. Besides creating a product for which their workforce feels pride, Google takes care of its employees by providing perks such as gourmet meals, childcare, on site fitness centers, job shares and telecommuting. Further, Google encourages a culture of innovation, which has evolved from the 80/20 rule to a more operationally-focused approach on key product offerings and areas of growth. Google employees go the extra mile for their company because they feel the company goes the extra mile for them. It’s a reciprocal relationship that yields high retention rates and groundbreaking performance.
There might be those small business owners who read about Google and think, “It’s easy for Google to invest in their employees. They are a $498 billion company!” Yes. The price tag seems daunting but I would argue it’s an investment worth making. I have seen first hand how small organizations have adapted Google practices and have created flourishing cultures built on ownership and collaboration.
One such company is a boutique consulting firm with which I have worked. It has five employees. This organization encourages employees to think about better ways of operating and improving the product. Problems are solved jointly. Ideas are seasoned by the group. If someone shows an interest or exhibits a strength that would benefit the business, he or she is given the opportunity to develop that capability, which often includes educational support. Leadership’s ability to solicit, listen and follow through on recommendations helps to foster a culture of pride and ownership.
There is an understanding at this firm that people have busy lives so employees are given the leeway to take time off to attend a parent/teacher conference, a child’s concert or sporting event or a doctor’s appointment. Although the firm doesn’t have the resources to provide childcare, children are welcome in the office if a parent is having trouble getting coverage for the day. This recognition of a life beyond work fuels employee loyalty.
The workforce might not get three free meals a day. But, there are frequent celebrations for success and milestones achieved, which includes luncheons and occasional dinners out. Taking time to celebrate success creates good will and keeps the employees motivated.
Bottom line, this firm functions well because there is mutual trust between the owner of the business and the workforce and between the team members themselves. People feel valued and taken care of. There is a high retention rate because people like coming to work and this has translated into a company that has experienced continuous growth for 30 years.
Research has shown that those organizations which invest in the happiness and well-being of their workforces are higher performing than those which do not. It doesn’t matter if your organization is big or small, the people who work there matter. Little shifts that indicate “we care” can yield big results.