Google gets more than 3,000 job 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 and fun diversions like a huge slide in the workplace, what more could an employee want? Sounds like an ideal job, doesn’t it?? However, 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.
Google is number one on the list of “ideal” employers and has been in the top five of Fortune’s list of “best companies to work for” for six years running and was number one on the list for three of those years. But make no mistake, Google’s executives offer 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’re valued; and to have employees remain Googlers (the name used for employees) for many years. Yet, employees continue to jump ship. 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?”
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 realized 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 taking aggressive steps to retain its talent, especially those with start-up ambitions. One thing the company has done is give several engineers who said they wanted to leave to pursue their own ideas the opportunity to pursue those ideas within Google. These employees work independently and can recruit other engineers. In addition, Google’s resources, such as its code base and computer servers, are available to them. In addition, from the very beginning, Google’s founders (Larry Page and Sergey Brin) believed in giving everyone time – called 20% time – to work on their own projects.
Other Googlers have left because they felt Google had gotten too big and turned into a slow-moving bureaucratic company. Again, the company battled to keep the talent. For instance, when a Google product manager told his bosses that he was leaving to take a job at Facebook, they offered him a huge raise. But he told them it wasn’t about the money. So they offered him a promotion, the opportunity to work in a different area, or even start his own company inside Google. Yet, the former employee says that “At Facebook, I can see how quickly I could get things done compared to Google.” However, there’s one other thing that start-ups can offer experienced employees: They’re still “private companies that haven’t gone public and can lure workers with pre-IPO (initial public offering) stock.”
CASE STUDY APPLICATION QUESTIONS
1. Based on your knowledge of management functions, and the related management concepts, and topics under each function, identify and describe the management functions and concepts apparent in this case study, using appropriate examples. (6 marks)
2. If you were a line manager at Google, charged with the responsibility of managing a team of employees, what strategies and approaches would you use to develop their motivation and to keep them motivated. Be sure to also justify the decisions you take as a manager, with supporting examples, cases, and theories. (8 marks)
3. Google is doing a lot for its employees, but obviously not enough to retain several of its talented employees. Based on the management principles and theories covered over the duration of this course, and your own additional related research, why do you think the employees at Google are still leaving? Be sure to justify your thoughts here with supporting examples, cases, and theories. (8 marks)
4. As a manager, develop any four (4) recommendations to help Google keep their talented employees. Be sure to justify the recommendations made with supported examples, cases and theories. (8 marks)
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