How to Build a Company Culture like Google (Without Spending a Fortune)


HR Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for HR pros

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Google has established a reputation for its excellent company culture and employee experience, but what can smaller companies with lower budgets do to emulate the tech giant’s success?

Article 4 Minutes
How to Build a Company Culture like Google

Google is known across the globe not only for transforming the internet and the world as we know it, but also for its company culture. The tech behemoth offers a range of staff benefits and workplace experiences that help it to attract millions of job applications every year, only a very small percentage of which are accepted.

In short, Google’s company culture has put it in the privileged position of being able to select from the very best candidates in the labor market.

Research published by workplace culture and compensation monitoring site Comparably identified the web giant as the best big tech firm (more than 500 employees) of 2018 for corporate culture, and the second best company of all.

Here’s the top ten in full:

  • Costco
  • Google
  • T-Mobile
  • HubSpot
  • Aflac
  • Insight Global
  • Intuit
  • Salesforce
  • Blizzard Entertainment
  • Starbucks

Many employers will have ambitions to create a company culture that helps them attract applications from the best and brightest candidates, but if you don’t have a budget on the scale of Google’s, it might seem like a big ask.

Encouragingly, there is strong evidence to suggest that creating a rewarding and enjoyable place to work doesn’t have to be all about money. Here are some of the affordable things your business can do to keep existing staff happy and boost your appeal to prospective recruits.

1. Embrace freedom and flexibility

Giving people the freedom in their jobs to make decisions and try new things is a powerful gesture for an employer to make. It shows you have trust in your staff and don’t need to keep them on a short leash.

Employees who feel their company has confidence in them will be much happier at work and have stronger motivation to work hard and deliver the results their boss is hoping for.

The level of freedom and flexibility Google affords its workforce is often cited as one of the best things about working there.

2. Respect work/life balance

Work/life balance is often cited as one of the key factors modern-day workers take into account when deciding whether or not to accept a job offer.

While it’s often associated with working hours and the amount of time people are expected to dedicate to their jobs, the concept can also encompass the amount of their home life people are encouraged to bring into the workplace.

One Google policy that is particularly appreciated by many of its workers encourages staff to bring their dogs into the office, which can have therapeutic benefits and help people feel more comfortable at work.

3. Emphasize respect

Happiness at work isn’t just about a person’s job; it’s also about the people they work with. Colleagues treating each other well and building positive relationships has a key part to play in your overall company culture.

From the moment someone joins your organization, make sure they are fully aware of the importance you place on respect between co-workers. This will help people feel happy in their jobs and work well with one another, which supports efficiency and productivity across the business as a whole.

Ivailo Nikolov of web hosting platform SiteGround pointed out that, while Google offers some great workplace perks, the way management and teammates treat one another is “what truly matters at the end of the day”.

4. Help people grow

Given the nature of its business and the industry it’s in, Google has to place a big emphasis on innovation and imaginative thinking. This is enabled by investing in people, facilitating their development and placing trust in their abilities.

Employees who are given the space, time and support to learn new skills and develop professionally will be better able to think and function in a way that unlocks real benefits for the business.

They will also gain greater career satisfaction and feel much more committed to their employer.

5. Focus on health and wellbeing

Companies should be doing everything they can to support the general health and wellbeing of their employees, firstly because it shows a level of care for the people who make the business run, but also because it simply makes sense from a productivity perspective.

Google looks after its workers with provisions including free organic meals, health and dental care, nap pods and on-site physicians.

Not all employers can afford these sorts of benefits, of course, but there are small steps any business can take to show its commitment to keeping people healthy. Having regular one-on-one meetings to discuss general wellbeing, discouraging ‘presenteeism’ and providing healthy snacks in the office could be good ways to start.

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