Google Case Study
It gets more than 3,000 applications a day. And it’s no wonder! With a massage every other week, onsite laundry, swimming pool and spa, free delicious all-you-can-eat gourmet meals, what more could an employee want? Sounds like an ideal job, doesn’t it? However, at Google, many people are demonstrating by their decisions to leave the company that all those perks (and these are just a few) aren’t enough to keep them there. As one analyst said, “Yes, Google’s making gobs of money. Yes, it’s full of smart people. Yes, it’s a wonderful place to work. So why are so many people leaving?”
Google has been in the top five list of “best companies to work for” by Fortune magazine for four years running and was number one on the list for two of those four years. But make no mistake.
Google’s executives decided to offer all these fabulous perks for several reasons: to attract the best knowledge workers it can in an intensely competitive, cutthroat market; to help employees work long hours and not have to deal with time-consuming personal chores; to show employees they are valued; and to have employees remain Googlers (the name used for employees) for many years. But a number of Googlers have jumped ship and given up these fantastic benefits to go out on their own.
For instance, Sean Knapp and two colleagues, brothers Bismarck and Belsasar Lepe, came up with an idea on how to handle Web video. They left Google, or as one person put it, “expelled themselves from paradise to start their own company.” When the threesome left the company, Google really wanted them and their project to stay. Google offered them a “blank cheque.”
But the trio realised they would do all the hard work and Google would own the product. So off they went, for the excitement of a start-up.
If this were an isolated occurrence, it would be easy to write off. But it’s not. Other talented Google employees have done the same thing. In fact, there are so many of them who have left that they’ve formed an informal alumni club of ex-Googlers turned entrepreneurs.
Google is doing a lot for its employees, but not enough to retain some talented employees. Using what you’ve learned from studying the various motivation theories, what does this situation tell you about employee motivation?
What do you think is Google’s biggest challenge in keeping employees motivated?
If you were managing a team of Google employees, how would you keep them motivated?