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It is no secret that Google’s position as the number-one search engine globally is maintained by a team of motivated employees and managers who enjoy their jobs to the fullest due to a multiplicity of motivation strategies and initiatives that the company continues to use (Cummings 2002). Google has realized that motivating employees through intrinsic and extrinsic rewards helps in stimulating them to become more productive, satisfied, and happier at the same time (Damij et al. 2015). This paper looks into the theories and methods used by Google to motivate its employees and the issues that the company is able to solve due to this practice.
Theories and Methods used by Google for Motivational Techniques
Available literature demonstrates that Google continues to provide its employees with outstanding amenities, which include “an in-house chef and masseuse, an onsite sauna, and 12-week maternity leave at 75 percent of pay, plus free meals delivered to the new mom during her first week off” (Cummings 2002, p. 6). Additional extrinsic benefits used by Google (e.g., flex spending accounts, free food, no-cost health and dental benefits, financial support for child adoption, insurance, vacation packages, on-site car wash, and tuition reimbursements) make employees to feel recognized by the company and to work harder to show their appreciation (Motivation in Google Company n.d.).
Theories of motivation can provide useful insights into how organizations can motivate their employees to give their best in work-related contexts. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory proposes that “people seek to satisfy five basic needs: physiological, safety, belongingness, self-esteem and self-actualization needs” (Dennis 2010, p. 4). The theory places “these needs in a pyramid, with the most basic on the bottom and self-actualization at the top” (Dennis 2010, p. 4). The application of this theory is demonstrated by how Google assists its employees to attain intrinsic rewards such as the sense of belonging, self-actualization, independence, and power by providing resources, opportunities, recognition and a favorable work environment for employees to be successful (Motivation in Google Company n.d.). For example, the weekly meetings hosted by Google’s co-founders help employees to achieve a sense of belonging by virtue of knowing that the company listens to their voices and concerns. Once employees achieve a sense of belonging, the need to attain self-actualization according to Maslow’s theory motivates their behavior to work harder to meet goals and surpass expectations.
Clayton Alderfer’s ERG theory condenses the Maslow’s five basic needs to three levels of needs (Existence, relatedness, and Growth) and argues that the order of pursuing these needs is not necessarily hierarchical, though existence needs usually have elevated precedence than relatedness and growth needs (Mullins & Christy 2013). Google fulfills existence needs by providing its employees with a free and fun-filled working environment where workers are allowed to use 20% of the work time weekly to engage in activities of personal interest (Motivation in Google n.d.). This working environment has been credited for ensuring a high level of creativity and innovativeness among employees.
The company fulfills relatedness needs by providing various levels of communication, valuing employee feedback, and ensuring that employees are facilitated to build satisfying interpersonal relationships with other employees and with senior management. Relatedness needs are also fulfilled by encouraging employees to take part in various activities and sports that are outside the scope of their work. Lastly, Google provides various opportunities for personal growth and development to enable its employees to accomplish the growth needs level. For example, the company practices high employee engagement practices and have an in-house reward mechanism aimed at acknowledging and appreciating the work of employees according to its organizational vision and values (Holton, Dent, & Rabbetts 2009).
Issues Solved due to Practice
Due to the effectiveness of the methods used by Google to develop motivational techniques, the company has been able to attract and retain the best employees in an extremely competitive business environment. These employees have helped the company to outperform its competitors and remain profitable even in challenging times (Dennis 2010). Here, it can be argued that embracing motivation as a key competitive strategy has helped Google to deal with issues of employee recruitment (many qualified and competent people want to work for Google), talent retention (employees want to stay, grow and contribute their knowledge, experience, and expertise), and employee performance (employees want to give their best due to the conducive work environment). The practice of employee motivation has also enabled Google to gain a good reputation and international standing, hence making it easier to recruit the best talent as demonstrated by a multiplicity of surveys showing that many employees would like to work for Google (Cummings 2002). Lastly, it is important to note that Google’s capacity to retain its employees due to the practices discussed in this paper translates to minimal training and recruitment costs for the company.
This paper has used Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory and Alderfer’s ERG theory to demonstrate the methods used by Google to develop motivational techniques. The paper has also outlined the many issues that are solved due to the practice. Overall, it can be concluded that Google’s motivational methods and techniques have been instrumental in enabling the company to recruit and retain the best talent.
Cummings, B 2002, ‘Motivational masters’, Potentials, vol. 35 no. 11, pp. 6-6.
Damij, J, Levnajic, Z, Skrt, VR & Sukian, J 2015, ‘What motivates us for work? Intricate web of factors beyond money and prestige’, PLoS ONE, vol. 10 no. 7, pp. 1-13.
Dennis, V 2010, ‘Motivation in today’s workplace: The link to performance’, HR Magazine, vol. 55 no. 7, pp. 1-9.
Holton, V, Dent, F & Rabbetts, J 2009, Motivation and employee engagement in the 21st century: A survey of management views, Web.
Motivation in Google Company n.d., Web.
Mullins, LJ & Christy, G 2013, Management and organisational behaviour, 10th edn, Pearson Education Limited, Harlow, UK.