Employee Utopia Found on Planets Google and Facebook

Employee Utopia Found on Planets Google and Facebook

June 19, 2017

We discuss why Google and Facebook’s Employee Engagement Programs makes them the hottest ticket in the tech employee galaxy.

By Shuchita Dua Dullu 

Keeping employees engaged is the biggest challenge Human Resource professionals face today. In the United States alone, 70 per cent of workers don’t like their job, are less productive and report feeling disconnected from their workplace, according to the State of the American Workplace Report. Global statistics is similar and shows four out of ten employees are disengaged. Disengaged employees can bring down key business areas and impact everything from sales, quality, productivity, retention to customer service.

Engaged employees as against their counterpart are likely to remain committed to their employers, stay motivated and focused on achieving business goals and are instrumental in driving an organisation’s future.

Employee engagement is the key to high employee retention, productivity, profit increase and better customer satisfaction. Studies show that organisations that follow a formalised employee engagement program see higher annual revenue growth than those that don’t. Companies that nail employee engagement understand that aligning talent with business strategy requires identifying those psychological and social factors that motivate an employee to stay, perform and continuously contribute to the organisational success.

Business houses with engaged employees reap benefits that extend to sustainability and profitability, thus, employee-satisfaction surveys have become an important human resource tool. Employee satisfaction surveys are tools that help companies understand whether or not their employees are satisfied with their roles and responsibilities, work environment, and management. Today, employee satisfaction surveys are considered as the first step toward creating a happier workplace. Companies use data from these surveys to understand what drives their employee at work.

Experience shows that what the employee wants is very different from what the organisation thinks they want. Data from employee satisfaction survey helps companies bridge this divide.

While engagement for some workers is seen to be directly proportional to financial rewards, others lay greater emphasis on more altruistic needs such as being an important part of the organisation, feeling valued and connected. Therefore, there is no go to strategy for employee engagement. What works varies by industry, location, company size, and how much money and resources the organisation has to invest into developing its culture, and its value and philosophy around employee engagement.

Two tech companies that have been consistently competing to be at the top of PayScale’s Top 50 Companies to Work for in America for the past two years are Google and Facebook.

Both companies follow employee centric philosophies and no stone is left unturned in their quest to provide a welcoming work environment for employees. While hefty pay packages is what both companies offer, here’s a look at the benefits that employees at Google and Facebook enjoy.

Facebook is home to Silicon Valley’s happiest workforce and the reasons are many. To begin with, the company provides free meals all day long, with everything from a coffee shop, sushi restaurant, barbecue shack, Mexican restaurant and pizzeria to a burger place.

There is an employee shuttle service to and from Facebook’s Menlo Park, Calif. headquarters to San Francisco and communal bicycles to go to other places.  Apart from that, on campus employees has access to a video arcade, candy shop, bank, dentist’s office, doctor’s office, bike repair shop, the barbershop and the dry cleaners. While there is an annual subsidy of approx. 920AUD for gym memberships, the bike shop offers free bike repairs and service.

By looking after the employee’s day to day needs, Facebook extends it supports to the families of employees too. While health insurance for single employees is free, the costs are low for employees with dependents. Facebook also provides AUD 5,252 in “Baby Cash” to employees with a new-born and AUD 3,939 in “Baby Cash” for day care services. Both men and women get four months’ paid parental leave, a leave they can avail anytime in the first year of baby’s birth.

Facebook also provides the option of ‘Work from home on Wednesday for the employees, a day when meetings are discouraged. If that is not all, Facebook offers 21 days of paid vacation and unlimited sick days to all its employees. More than the facilities the company provides, an important fact that reflects on the openness of the company’s culture is that Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg likes to hear from his employees directly, he holds regular meetings with the executives and the non -executive staff. The weekly Q&A with Zuckerberg and other executives is something that employees at Facebook look forward to.

Google is known to feed its employees very well too. At the Google complex, employees can eat breakfast, lunch and dinner free of charge. There are several cafés located throughout the campus, and employees can eat at any of them.

Employees at Google have access to Japanese imported high-tech toilets that adjust the temperature of wash water and the seat according to the likings of the employee!

Employees at Google have the option of doing their laundry for free in the company’s washers and dryers. Free detergent and dry cleaning is also available at Google office.  Google offers employees ample opportunities to unwind too. Employees can relax after a long day by playing billiards, braving the rock climbing wall, or taking a dip in the company’s pool. The Google complex also has some interesting lap pools and mini-pools for the employees to swim in. Apart from that, there is an onsite beach volleyball pit, video games, foosball, ping pong and roller hockey.

Google allows its employees the option to use up to 20 percent of their work week at Google to pursue special projects. That means for every standard work week, employees can take a full day to work on innovation unrelated to their normal workload. That’s not all, Google believes in taking care of the training and development needs of all its employees as much as their need to be stressed free.  The company provides confidential, one-on-one career coaching and guidance to its employees, around the subjects of work-life balance, personal and professional development, communication styles and conflict resolution, among others.

Google believes in family welfare too. Should a U.S. Google employee pass away while working for Google, their surviving spouse or domestic partner will receive a check for 50 percent of their salary every year for the next decade and there is no tenure requirement for an employee to avail this benefit.  Like Facebook, the most important thing shaping the culture at Google is the “TGIF” meetings. On these Friday meetings, Google employees are free to ask the founders any company related question.

Understanding the time lines and stress that tech employees work under, both companies strive to provide an environment that is open, relaxed, offers ample opportunities to de-stress and one that strives to take cares of the most basic of all needs of any employee. Clearly, both tech giants are great employers as the perks that both these companies offer are carefully calculated to maximise employee productivity and sustainability.


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