The project deals with the problem of employees’ empowerment at Google. The opening paragraphs induct into empowerment as a type of democratic leadership style and the ways it applies to Google. Following are various techniques and approaches that enable company workforce to fulfill themselves in terms of creativity. The paper gives an in-depth look into the nature of empowerment techniques, as Google cafes, Moderator, TGIF, “Fix-Its, and “20 percent” projects, to name a few. The project reflects the opinions of prominent management experts and functionaries.
Keywords: Google, empowerment, techniques, approach, project, loyalty, leadership
Skillful personnel is important to any organization, whether it be a private company or a state institution. Talented managers are about as important inasmuch as they are the ones who set the entire team of professionals in motion. To do so, they apply a number of techniques and leadership styles that allow creating a certain working atmosphere cultivating participation or rigid subordination and discipline. While at the helm of a company, leaders take it upon themselves to keep it afloat, generate profits, or purge personnel, which determines the specific technique of managing staff, as coercive, authoritative, democratic, pacesetting, and other approaches. Google is a multinational company that majors in various products and services related to the Internet. The reason why the corporation is at the top of the list of global companies with a huge trading capital consists in the democratic leadership style of its operating officers and employee empowerment management techniques applied to ensure no idea goes unnoticed.
Blanchard, Carlos, and Randolph (1996) suggested that employee empowerment gave workers more autonomy in the decision-making process and increased the sense of responsibility for their line of work. Such democratization contributes to employees’ practicing and learning required skills and obtaining necessary knowledge that allow them to become better leaders through training and deal with problems at the workplace (as cited in Illangakoon, 2010). Google Incorporated cultivates the exact same abilities among its workers by initiating project teams. The company expects employees to develop breakthrough innovations through the creation of groups that pursue specific work-related goals for their own development. Unlike a traditional departmental approach, the project team technique enables workers to partake in decision-making. Such participation produces self-confidence that nurtures employees’ entrepreneurial instincts. More importantly than that, the unlimited participation mode enhances the quality of decisions made.
Important is that empowerment is related to decentralization, by which the top management delegates the decision-making authority to the lower tiers of the hierarchical structure. Bottom-up flow of decisions and information and fewer levels of the organizational structure due to decentralization are characteristic of such companies as Google. Company project teams are the ones based on the principle of power delegation. That team members decide on objectives demonstrates that they enjoy a great deal of autonomy. The failure to grant authority and autonomy as well as managerial interference puts obstacles and causes demotivation and dissatisfaction. Thus, Google functionaries have abandoned the idea of micromanagement as such that deducts from creativity. Company’s review system puts focus on the reviews made by peers rather than managers. Google having removed the necessity for a top-down managerial approach, the employees are now more accountable for their coworkers’ performance, being able to detect flaws and report effectively (Illangakoon, 2010).
The processes of idea screening and generation make decentralization more visible. Any Google employees, who have an idea occur to them, can post it in the suggestion box, after which it will be assessed on whether it is marketable and feasible. Such approach instils the sense of importance into employees. Needless to say, management decisions on novelties suggested rely on arguments instead of conventionally acceptable hierarchical considerations. In trying to adjust organizational goals to be more synergetic with individual ones, Google management plays a coaching role. Reviewing and advice giving secure persistent encouragement and mentoring. Google primary goal is to develop loyal and motivated staff, demonstrating innovative approaches and decent job performance that will be inspiration to many. It appears that a friendly working environment, accountability, and improved relations with management and coworkers serve as motivators and drivers to success. What is more, Google gives a lavish reward of 1 million dollars’ worth of company stock to whoever suggests the finest innovation to produce an achievement-oriented organization. Motivation and loyalty produced by decentralization and employees’ empowerment are the reasons the multinational corporation developed more innovations in the course of the last decade, as against other big market players. The empowerment has allowed Google to augment the growth of both gross revenue and net profit. It is worth noting that workforce retention and loyalty are central to company success as an innovator and moneymaker (Illangakoon, 2010).
According to He (2013), the shares of Google have jumped over 900% since its initial public offering back in 2004. Corporate success is said to originate in ceaseless innovation and exceptional management approaches. Senior Vice-President of Google’s People Operation, Laszlo Bock admitted that creating an arena for people to assemble and develop innovations was company’s chief priority. To make this happen, Google put forward the idea of different channels for expression since different employees may use different ways of communicating ideas. Google cafes are the establishments launched to promote interactions between coworkers both within and across working teams by inspiring conversations about work. Another method is emailing corporation’s leaders. Besides that, Google’s engineers designed an innovation management instrument called Google Moderator.
People’s having company-wide meetings or technical talks allows employees to put questions and vote up those they need answered. Via Moderator, employees can learn existing ideas, suggestions, or questions, vote for them, and see the total votes to date, as well as creating a new series that ask for ideas arranged by event, topic, or meeting. Google Moderator numbers among Google’s so-called “20%” projects. In having engineers spend 20% of workweek on the projects of interest, the corporation manages to elicit abilities and talents from their multi-faceted employees (He, 2013). Strauss (2013) stated that not only engineers, but also all employees are free to spend the mentioned amount of time on the projects of interest. Gargiulo (2011) suggested that it was allowing workers to dedicate 20% of time to the projects of their choosing that made Google the fourth best corporation in the list of “100 companies to work for” composed by the US Fortune. Cook (2012) suggested that the company came to become second best to none in 2009. Its empowerment-induced popularity made it the most popular search engine. Company brad name being integrated into dictionaries in the shape of a verb speaks volumes for how successful empowerment along with subsequent autonomy is.
He (2013) noted that, apart from cafes and Moderator, Google arranged all-hands meetings referred to as TGIF, with office workers putting questions to senior management as well as other operating officers and executives regarding multiple corporate issues. Google Universal Ticketing System, or GUTS, provides the opportunity of filing issues reviewed for problems or patterns. During “Fix-Its”, or 24-hour sprints, company employees put aside all their current obligations only to concentrate efforts on solving specific issues. Formal meetings called internal innovation reviews enable Googlers from various corporate divisions to come up with product ideas presented to senior executives. Surveys make it possible for company examiners to interview employees on their managers. Knowledge received will help determine the best leaders and enlist them as role models and mentors for the next year. Those rated as the worst leaders obtain intense support and coaching that they will improve their managerial skills. As many as 75% of these improve their abilities within one quarter. “Googlegeist” is another survey that gathers feedback on a multiplicity of problems and goes on to enlist the help of volunteer teams assembled from company employees to address the biggest problems (He, 2013).
Sosik, Jung, Berson, Dionne, and Jaussi (2004) claimed that Intranet technology supported the empowerment of Google employees. The company provides all workers with space on its intranet for them to list various ideas on topics, such as new search or code algorithms, new features on Google, or the ways of improving the home page. On Fridays, employees may be seen brainstorming their ideas by using the website. Up and coming ideas are described in outline on the intranet site while employees who forward such ideas are placed in charge of their implementation. Newcomers offer a serious competition since they suggest quicker and better ways of searching the internet to their users. Under such conjuncture, Google management delegates leadership functions to employees who happen to be closer to processes, clients, and technologies supporting them.
Skillful managers that employ efficient leadership styles and techniques of motivating personnel are as important as good workers are. Google is a multinational corporation, whose specialty is internet-related services and products. Its democratic leadership style allows employees to take an immediate part in decision-making through such innovations as project teams initiated to pursue certain work-related objectives. Employees’ empowerment, which is the company’s cornerstone principle, implies managerial decentralization as well as the delegation of commissions to employees to have a better knowledge of customers and their interests. Apart from gaining self-confidence, Googlers develop entrepreneurial instincts. Their participation in corporate decision-making is presumed to improve the quality of decisions made. Managerial intrusion, or micromanagement, is the source of dissatisfaction and demotivation among company workers. Thus, Google has rejected such an ineffective management mode.
Company workers are free to put forward their ideas and place them in the suggestion box. Such ideas are up for evaluation on feasibility and marketability. Never do senior management pass their decisions on innovative suggestions based on hierarchical considerations. Rather, they rely on the force of arguments. Company leaders play a coaching role, mentoring and advising their subordinates. Friendly working environment, accountability, and improved relations with management and coworkers are considered the best motivators of Google workforce. Those suggesting the finest innovations receive 1 million dollars’ worth of company stock as the encouragement for their efforts. Loyalty and motivation induced by empowerment have yielded excellent results thus far, with Google heading the list of the best companies to work for in 2009. Empowerment has also secured the growth of both gross revenue and net profit. No other company has produced so many innovations over the past decade. The concept of empowerment has many manifestations. Employees can assemble at Google cafes to exchange and discuss the ideas of new projects.
Google Moderator allows putting questions, reviewing ideas, and voting for them. Not only engineers, but also other categories of workforce can dedicate up to 20% of their work time to the projects of their interest, which is instrumental in eliciting their hidden abilities and talents. Friday meetings called TGIF allow workers to put whichever questions they feel relevant to senior management. “Fix-Its” enable employees to focus on resolving urgent corporate issues jointly. Surveys are, by far, the most important demonstration of staff empowerment, for Google examiners interview employees to evaluate the job performance put on display by company managers. Those declared exemplary leaders serve as role models for the next year while those managers, whose day-to-day company input was rated as unsatisfactory, are subject to coaching and qualification improvement. Finally, Intranet technology allows algorithms, new features on Google, or the ways of improving the home page to be suggested by Google staff. Overall, employee empowerment seems to be working well, as autonomy-induced innovative ideas have made Google one of the best companies that provides users with effective and easy-to-handle internet-related products.
Cook, J. (2012, May 27). How google motivates their employees with rewards and perks. Hub Pages. Retrieved from: http://thinkingleader.hubpages.com/hub/How-Google-Motivates-their-Employees-with-Rewards-and-Perks
Gargiulo, S. (2011, September 21). How employee freedom delivers better business. CNN. Retrieved from: http://edition.cnn.com/2011/09/19/business/gargiulo-google-workplace-empowerment/
He, L. (2013, March 29). Google’s secrets of innovation: empowering its employees. Forbes. Retrieved from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/laurahe/2013/03/29/googles-secrets-of-innovation-empowering-its-employees/
Illangakoon, S. (2010, November 5). Google’s HR policy – recruitment, selection, empowerment, and motivation. Managing People – Perspectives of Google. Retrieved from: http://assignmenthelpseries11.blogspot.com/2010/11/googles-hr-policy-recruitment-selection.html
Sosik, J.J., Jung, D.I., Berson, Y., Dionne, S.D., and Jaussi, K.S. (2004). Strategy-focused leadership in technology-driven organizations. Information Age Publishing, Inc. Retrieved from: http://books.google.com.ua/books?id=lrixYrfGzI0C&pg=PA38&lpg=PA38&dq=Employee+Empowerment+at+Google&source=bl&ots=pxflsi71G7&sig=PB_YWNS6wvaBI15rf3TMqmWqDdo&hl=uk&sa=X&ei=TGmdU9edBKS7ygO4u4KoAw&ved=0CCMQ6AEwATgU#v=onepage&q=Employee%20Empowerment%20at%20Google&f=false
Strauss, S. (2013, November 6). Ask an expert: empower your employees. USA Today. Retrieved from: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/columnist/strauss/2013/11/06/steve-strauss-intrapreneurship/3446655/