Ever wondered what makes Google so successful? 

Inspired by the Engage for Success movement, I wanted to share my findings on what makes Google so successful.  Having spent ten months researching employee engagement in two high-performing organisations to determine what practices were at play, I found my answers as part of my Global MBA dissertation.  After extensive research the short answer was perceptions, but it’s never that straightforward and the real answer was, it’s complex.

My comparative case study between Google and W. L. Gore & Associates aimed at seeking ways to improve relationships at work by identifying people-management practices associated with employee engagement in high-performing organisations and I assessed how these practices affected performance.

I discovered that various practices and contexts were working together and key themes such as structure, autonomy, hiring, retention and culture were identified.  Although these came with terms and conditions, most of these practices were transferable.

Taking a closer look, the findings also revealed that engagement was largely down to employees’ perceptions and something called the psychological contract.  This is based on employee expectations of the organisation and what the employees feel they get back for their efforts.  These perceptions were based on a hierarchy of personal wants such as autonomy, opportunities and freedom.  What makes it complex is the continuous give-and-take between the employee and the organisation which naturally affect perceptions on a daily basis.  For employees to be fully engaged, a balancing act between the give-and-take had to be achieved as seen in my model below.

These findings are beneficial to your organisation because in 2013 the management consultancy group Gallup (1) identified that only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work; 63% are disengaged, (i.e. they lack motivation) and 23% are actively disengaged, (i.e. they are unproductive and hold a negative demeanour in the workplace).  It raises the argument then that only 13% of employees in your organisation are engaged.  Imagine the potential and opportunities to be discovered if the remaining 87% could be encouraged to become engaged by their line managers?  What would revenue and profit look like if employees were more committed in their role?  What would it do to retention figures and sickness levels?

The challenge most organisations have today is that managers tend to be too busy managing problems rather than opportunities.  I’ve made some recommendations for this as part of my conclusions.  If organisations allocated TWO managers per department, where a Challenge Manager (for example) manages the problems and the business objectives and an Opportunity Manager (for example) manages the workplace mindsets and relationships within the same team, suddenly this potential of tapping into the remaining 87% of employees looks very attractive and, more importantly…possible!

If you would like to read the full PDF report for free, please contact Sarah Hudson on LinkedIn or via sarahhudson77@hotmail.com

Author Bio: Sarah Hudson holds an MBA from Oxford Brookes University, a BA in Furniture and Product Design from Ravensbourne, a PRINCE2 project management qualification and currently works as Project Coordinator for Ercol Furniture.

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