Why Google is a Great Company to Work For (and How Your Company Can be Great, too)

Every year, Fortune magazine lists the 100 Best Companies to Work For. In 2013, the number one rated company was Google (for the fourth year in a row). Why do its employees give Google such high marks? And, how can you get some of that employee love, without building a roller hockey rink?

The Goodies

There’s no doubt about it—Google has the goodies that make its 34,000 employees jump for joy. Here are just a few of the perks:

  • Free meals in the cafeteria. You won’t find bland chicken nuggets and soggy french fries here; the menu features gourmet entrees created by some of the world’s top chefs.
  • Free haircuts. Yes, there’s a hair salon onsite.
  • Gym. Google’s gym isn’t just a tiny closet with a broken treadmill and a set of barbells—employees enjoy three wellness centers and a seven-acre sports complex.
  • Paid maternity leave. 18 weeks for moms; 12 weeks for dads.
  • Free Google Goodies. Free Android smartphone, anyone?
  • Subsidized massages. On campus, of course.
  • Great medical coverage. And, there’s an onsite medical team to make that annual exam that much more convenient.
  • Game rooms. These include billiards, ping pong, foosball, video games and more.

How Google Benefits

So, why does Google go to all this bother and expense to keep its employees happy? Here are three reasons.

1) Employees don’t need to leave the campus. Keep your employees working and productive, and they’ll help your company make more money. By providing hair cuts, gym, medical care, etc. right on campus, employees don’t need to rush off during their lunch hours to get errands done.

2) Google knows a thing or two about stress and its effect on employee productivity. Take a tired, overworked employee, add a nice helping of stress and what do you have? Not much, because stress renders people unable to produce. Google provides its employees with massages and some state-of-the-art fitness opportunities, along with delicious, healthy food. All of which help mitigate stress and increase productivity.

3) Google keeps talented people right where it wants them. Which is working for Google, of course. Keep people happy, care about their personal needs, and they’ll stay. Google attracts top talent and keeps them.

How Can You Be Google?

Well, you can’t. Unless you can manage to grow your business to somewhere around $38 million in revenue. But you can adopt some of Google’s principles to help your own employees. Three ways that you can do so:

1) Think about your employees’ needs. What kinds of stressors do they have in their personal lives, and how can you help? Perhaps giving employees an hour off every Friday afternoon to run personal errands will make a difference. Or work out a deal with your local massage therapist to provide chair massages every so often. Figure out what small things you can do to help your employees—they’ll help you in return by providing even better work.

2) Don’t forget the power of “Thank you.” So you can’t bring in a chef to prepare free meals for your employees. For the folks at Google, it’s not necessarily about the free meal; it’s about the feeling that Google cares enough to provide it. Tell your employees how much you value their work. Give them the accolades and acknowledgement they deserve on a regular basis.

3) Provide opportunities for bonding. Google’s employees report that one of the biggest benefits that results from the on-site perks is the feeling of a team environment. They’re encouraged to work together, eat together and play together. After all, what’s a better way to bond than in a pick-up basketball game or a friendly ping-pong tournament? Take your employees out to lunch occasionally, or host parties and events for employees and their families. A little bit of employee bonding can go a long way toward company loyalty.

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