Thursday, May 28, 2009

Google Australia - a High Trust Team Case Study

The transparency of trust and a commitment to live its values sets Google Australia high above its contemporaries, says Kath Walters of BRW, and these underpin revolutionary practice and results.

Any company employee, for instance, can nominate an idea for development (“not just engineers”) and if it’s successful they can devote twenty percent of their time to it. Considering that Google allows employees unprecedented levels of access to its intellectual property, finances and strategy it hardly seems there’s a barrier at all for good ideas, and this seemingly limits no one. Hence motivation flourishes!

Google have worked out that money has less to do with employee satisfaction than most seem to believe. Whilst fairness is seen as the key to financial reward for employees, they’re more motivated by being kept “informed and appreciated.”

The number of ‘peer bonuses’ paid are non-capped and this is a good example that it’s more than money that motivates most staff. The emphasis is on recognition of fellow employee contribution rather than the boss dictating who’s to be recognised.

Casual discussions are the seed beds of much of Google’s creative production and staff are encouraged to work informally and how they like. And the traditional divide between management and workers seems almost non-existent with employees able to quiz executives at will every Friday.

The test of any great company is how it rides out difficult change. With the close of its Melbourne office, the transparency policy was put to the test, but General Manager Karim Temsamani said it was clear and timely communication that was the key. You can feel a real commitment to communicating truth in this action, as it boldly did what needed doing. Action that so often undermines trust actually appeared to advance it. Authenticity, not smoke and mirrors, is the key.

What strikes me about this company is it caters beautifully for what Gen Y requires, truly valuing and trusting its employees, and in that it satisfies all age groups and is hence one of the most sought-after companies to work for...

After all, 19,475 job applications in the past year for a company of only 312 employees can’t be wrong!

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
Source Article: Kath Walters, “Search and employ: Google’s working conditions are legendary” in BRW - Great Places to Work issue, Volume 31, Number 17 April 30 - June 3, 2009, p. 30-35.

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