If your employees are only coming to work because of the free perks, then you’re doing it wrong.
Google‘s annual all-hands meeting is where employees can question the CEO and other executives. They discontinued the regular town hall style meetings in 2019 because it got too predictable.
Looking back, that was probably a mistake. In fact, many people had advised that the meetings had taken on a different tone in the past few years. I’m sure the company’s leaders — no one wants to be uncomfortable when talking about the things employees are unhappy about.
The thing is, nobody can guarantee that all coworkers will get along. But don’t undermine the issue just because it seems like you might not have to deal with them. Google employees seem to have a lot of complaints, especially as they’re trying to navigate everything from returning to work after a pandemic to an uncertain global economy.
For the first time since July, Google’s CEO Pichai has opened up about some of the company’s controversial strategies, including a decision to pause hiring new employees while increasing productivity. But sadly it seems that his message didn’t get through to everyone and employees felt frustrated.
It’s a fair demand. If you ask your team to do more work, you need to provide them with the resources they need in order for them to be able to pull through and succeed. When you tell them that they need less pay or that they’ll have to take on more responsibility by themselves is too much. Add in a reduction of benefits as well, like food at lunch or travel expenses, it’s asking a lot of everyone involved.
Let me offer a possible explanation for Google’s recent decision to start pushing employees to work longer: Google is trying to increase profits despite their staff’s protests.
To address the concerns of employees, Matt Pichai participated in a recent all-hands meeting. While the perception among employees is that Google’s “nickel and diming” its employees, Google has recorded excellent profits recently.
“As a company, there are tough times, but we’re doing our best to stay afloat. I hope everyone is following the news and has some perspective because now more than ever there’s a lot of information out there.”
Pichai went on to address specific concerns around employee benefits and how Google manages its culture despite the constant march toward efficiency.
The founder and CEO of Google, Sergey Brin, once said that he remembers when the company was small and not so scrappy. Fun wasn’t always — we shouldn’t always equate fun with money. I think you can walk into a hard-working startup and people may be having fun even though it doesn’t have to have to correlate with monetary values.
Leadership connects to intrinsic values and has the power of shaping your company’s culture. It is built from the inside out, and that’s not just in words and style, but also in substance such as your values, habits, and evolution.
Although it’s hard not to hear Pichai’s recent statement as a rationalization for content reduction, you have to admit that he does have a point. After all, his remark doesn’t say anything about actually restricting activities when they’re working.
All this just to say, I think your viewpoint is well-founded and that I might even agree with it. Google may like to think it operates as a startup, but it’s not a startup in any sense of the word. It has more than 150,000 employees and is one of the largest, most profitable companies on earth.
In part, it was successful because people enjoyed coming to work. One of the reasons for that is that Google had a lot of attractive perks like free food, games, fitness centers, dry cleaning, etc. These served to attract and keep talented employees happy – and this in turn helped Google achieve its lofty heights of success.
What I think Pichai was trying to say is that just because a company gives its employees free stuff, doesn’t mean that it’ll make the company culture great. What makes your company special should be in the DNA of your company and not solely based on money. Yes, free stuff is nice and costs you money, but it’s not all perks are the same.
There are lots of ways to show employees you value them and make them feel appreciated. Some things that don’t have to cost a lot of money include company outings, work days out, on-site holidays occasionally, or even just a touch more time with their task manager. This is especially true if your team members are only coming to work for the perks. It isn’t really about the money; it’s about leadership failing.