Discuss about the Employee Engagement Practices in Google.
Human resource is an integral part of companies of all sizes and nature around the world. Over years, the value of human resources to accomplish business goals has been realized to influence the end outcomes. As much as recruiting skilled manpower is important for companies, there are efforts made to engage them with the organizational goals. In fact, company leadership has accepted the value added by employees in growth and success. Employee engagement has become important to keep the employees committed in their respective job roles and in the strategic goals of the companies. There have been many studies conducted in order to establish the relevance of human resources practices for organizations to achieve their intended goals. In this research, the prime focus is to investigate the role of employee engagement practices adopted by search engine giant Google in order to improve job performance and eventually to achieve strategic goals. Employee engagement must be integrated in the HRM policies, practices and procedures to drive the company to stimulate dedication towards the attainment of the business objectives. Given the growing awareness about employee engagement practices in the industry, it is essential that innovative ways are identified to encourage the active participation of employees. The research will use quantitative methodology in order to draw the requisite opinion from the selected employees to suffice the formulated objectives. It is expected that this research would highlight the importance of employee engagement in the success of the company.
The paper has been divided into different chapters. The first chapter discusses the literature review of the core subject by comprehensive assessment of the vast volume of the academic researches, books, articles etc. This would provide the much desired fundamental information about employee engagement as a HR concept and an integral practice in the selected company. The second chapter discusses the research methodology including the formulation of research objectives. The third chapter discusses the findings of the research methodology adopted during the study. The fourth and the last chapter provides proper conclusion along with suitable recommendations to give a proper closure to the research.
Employee engagement has drawn the attention of academicians for years in order to place its existence in the industry. There have been many studies conducted to study the different aspects of human resource practices performed in companies to identify their contribution in the overall success of the companies. Though there is decent amount of confusion among practitioners and researchers to clearly define and quantify engagement in work setting (Bakker et al., 2011), engagement has been explained as a positive feeling towards work-based space which is reflected in the personality of the employees such as dedication and passion (Schaufeli et al., 2002). In the academic arena, engagement was first heard in the social psychological work of Kahn (1990), who argued that personal engagement happens when individuals bring in or keep their personal selves out while working. It is the inane feeling among employees towards their job as designated by the company. Engaged employees demonstrate their real self through physical involvement, cognitive awareness and emotional bond. Gallup organization stated that employee engagement demonstrates the impassioned involvement of the employees with their work. In essence, work engagement ensures that employees are driven towards accomplishing the organizational goals (Macey & Schneider, 2008). Robinson et al. (2004) stated employee engagement as a positive attitude embraced by employees towards adding value activities for an organization. An engaged employee is more involved in performing his or her job to benefit the organization as compared to a disgruntled employee. Google strives to create and develop environment that helps employees to nurture their relation with their respective jobs and hence with their employer. Google boasts of a unique culture and well-structured human resource policies and hence is regarded as an innovator and best employer (Nightingale, 2008). Such is the impact of its HR policies that it managed to get listed among the best 100 companies in the world to work for in Fortune magazine (2013). Though there are bleak chances about a global definition and measure of engagement, motivation to contribute and involvement towards organizational success is essential (Bakker et al., 2011). Google offers attractive packages to suck in the best talent in the market for gaining competitive advantage. However, it has plenty of people-friendly programs to retain the employees as well including flexible working hours, health benefits, on-site fitness centres, free meals, vacations, sports, and much more ( Thomas & Karodia, 2014).
There are many theories and models explaining the strong association between job- related resources and personal characteristics as elaborated by job demands-resources (JD-R) model (Bakker & Demerouti, 2014). As per JD-R theory, it’s the combined influence of favourable job resources and personal resources to improve work engagement, and eventually improving other job related outcomes including, creativity, job performance, financial gain and extra-role performance. The JD-R research has managed to elaborate on the possible outcomes including job satisfaction, exhaustion, organizational commitment, absenteeism and many more. This highlights the different aspects related with employee engagement and related concepts. Internal motivation is central to understand employee engagement and its long term influence on employees and organization (Bakker & Demerouti, 2014). Google’ innovative work culture model works on 80/20 rule which means to focus on 20% of the allotted work time to innovate, and so far, this model has managed to garner the appreciation of new as well as existing employees in the company (Thomas & Karodia, 2014). The company has introduced many programs over the years including employee referral program, to absorb the best of the all.
Organizations have come to realize the importance of human capital in gaining competitive advantage and hence boost their profit. However, managing people with distinct set of knowledge, skills and attitude is a daunting task for managers. Researchers working across different domains in the mainstream human resource management (HRM) field have been perplexed about determining the relation between people management and enhanced organisational performance (Huselid, 1995). In fact, it has come to the stage wherein the association between the HRM and performance has become a dominant purpose of strategic human resource management (SHRM) (Delbridge & Keenoy 2010). An engaged employee is likely to make extra efforts in order to contribute in the job performance. Engaged employees invest more time, effort and initiative to achieve success for the business (Baumruk & Gorman, 2006). On the contrary, a disconnected or disengaged employee tends to waste efforts, and time to deliver a mediocre performance (BlessingWhite, 2006). Sullivan (2007) argued that the unique employee engagement approach at Google has boosted the productivity of the employees and hence the company revenues. This is primarily the reason why companies are giving due attention to employee engagement to draw good results from them for the benefit of the organization. As per a survey conducted under the leadership of ISR on 360000 working individuals from 41 different companies from 10 of the world’s economically strong countries, operating margin and net profit margins nosedived over a period of three years in companies having low engagement while others with high engagement reported soaring profits over the same period (Meere, 2005). Google, for instance implements an agile goal-setting process titled OKR (objectives and key results) wherein every individual below the CEO fixes his or her quantifiable objectives (Bersin, 2015). Since OKRs are public, employees are aware of each other’s responsibility and hence are accountable for their work. Such challenging practices keep the employees charged with enthusiasm to accomplish their self-determined targets.
Employee Engagement and Organization Performance
There are many factors which drive organizations to develop a conducive environment for employees to feel more connected or an important part of the company’s success. Most of the employees look for meaning in their work that helps the organization achieve their strategic goals. As per Penna research report (2007), meaningful work has the capacity to bridge the gap between employers and employees for this will benefit the organization and employees will find the suitable environment to make some valuable contribution towards the organization. Another study report from Blessing White (2008) elaborated that out of all the surveyed employees, nearly 60% look for more growth opportunities in their company to achieve job satisfaction. Google provides ample opportunities to the employees to grow and excel in the company. As competition from other companies has increased, employees are under equal pressure to surpass their own previous performance. The company invests rationally to get its best talent in the company and hence uses many retention tools. Aside from their innovative benefits, the company indulges in activities linked with the health, and family of the employees so they feel comfortable, and corporate environment is improved to make them at ease (Nightingale, 2008). Stock option is another major tool to attract and retain employees (Thomas & Karodia, 2014). However, excessive employee engagement can be overly expensive. So a clear insight is required to get the desired benefits. Although there is a growing interest in engagement amongst HRM researchers, it is yet to be subjected to the critical scrutiny like HRM (Purcell, 2013)
This research would focus on the employee engagement scenario in Google. Google is one such company which values its employees like any other crucial resource. Employees are known as Googlers. Google intends to create an informal environment with inherent value (Murari, 2004). There are many benefit programs and amenities targeted to provide timely assistance to the employees. Some of the generous programs include the employee friendly leave policies, death benefits, retirement savings plans and much more (Thomas & Karodia, 2014). The office environment is such that employees’ families do not feel ignored. There are many offices wherein healthcare services are provided in the form of gym, massage services, physicians etc. Apart from big fat salary, there are plenty of benefits and perks attached to help them grow professionally and to create a balance between work and personal life. Employees are allowed to work with fun to keep the stress at bay and boost their productivity through engagement practices (Thomas & Karodia, 2014).
Being the world’s search giant, the company values its human capital to drive success and growth. Nevertheless, it is facing the same set of employee issues like many other organizations including employee retention, poor job performance, absenteeism and many more. In order to investigate the case further, this research would dig a bit deeper into the employee engagement practices run to manage the human resources.
Given the importance of employee programs and keeping in mind the consideration given to innovative culture, the employee engagement model must consist of training and development, work policies and procedures, compensation and benefits, career growth opportunities. All these factors will collaborate to engage employees towards the benefit of the stakeholders. It will potentially improve job satisfaction and hence add on to the revenue generation for the company.
The research aims to investigate the role of employee engagement practices in improving job performance and organizational effectiveness. The objectives are as follows:
1. To determine the factors and their impact in shaping employee engagement in Google.
2. To determine the relation between employee engagement practices and employees morale in Google.
3. To determine the influence of leadership in improving employees engagement in Google.
Research methodology includes the generic approach adopted to conduct the research. For the research, quantitative research method will be used. Quantitative research can be defined as the process of collecting quantifiable data and subjecting it to statistical treatment in order to agree or disagree with predetermined claims (Creswell, 2003).
Research tool: A survey questionnaire will be designed to collect requisite data from the selected respondents. This questionnaire will be prepared keep the research objectives in consideration.
Sample Population: The research considers all the employees of the company as the sample population.
Sample Size: For the research, a sample of 50 employees will be taken to draw the required responses from the selected respondents.
The research has elaborated on some of the relevant aspects related with employee engagement. The responses gathered from the survey reflected upon the opinion of the selected employees about their perception about engagement in the company. It was found that most of the employees were satisfied with their current job role, though many of them want to perform in other job roles to examine their potential. Most of the employees (93%) believe in team work and innovation to achieve cohesive goals in the company. The work environment is such that instead of rivalry, employees compete with themselves to continue improving their job role Though jobs can be physically and mentally exhausting, most of the employees (95%) highly rated the work environment, job role, employee benefits and team work. Of all the benefits provided by the company, job growth opportunities were found to be the most preferred along with the engagement activities by all the respondents. It goes on to show the fact that employees recognize the value added through their enhanced performance in the growth and success of the company. It was closely followed by the salary and perks, engagement activities and fitness programs. The results showed that most of the employees appreciate the interest the leadership shows toward such employee benefit program as part of their initiative to engage employees.
Conclusion & Recommendation
Google is one such company which takes utmost care of its employees through various programs. Unlike many other organizations where work stress can create negative environment, Google is one such company which believes in creating a positive outlook towards life despite of the work-related challenges. It allows employees to work with complete freedom to examine their real potential against the bigger challenges and of course the expectations laid on them by the leadership. They feel more responsible towards the job assigned and hence towards the company. The results elaborated that employees were impressed with the corporate environment of the company which involves work with fun. The company’s employee benefit programs are targeted to provide a comfortable working environment to the employees. There is ample care taken of employees in terms of their physical wellbeing through sports activities and fitness programs, and emotional wellbeing with family get-together etc. There are special programs formulated to provide opportunities for employees’ personal and professional growth. Google has created a common feel among its employees that there is something more beyond just the money and that is their skilled contribution towards innovative service. Google has emerged as a company which believes in working towards introducing changes in the world through creative activities and teamwork. Employees feel overwhelmed associated with an international brand which has garnered recognition across the length and breadth of the industry. The company’s leadership has time and again recognized the value added through the perseverance and dedication of the innovative employees. The research includes a very small sample size. Thus the results can’t be equated as the general perception of all the employees of the company. Also, there was less time to expand the research to study many other relevant concepts of the employee engagement. There is dire need to extend this research further for consolidated results.
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