Few names in the business world attract quite as much attention as Google. What started out as a lowly internet company has exploded into one of the largest corporations in the world worth billions of dollars. Google has grown quickly and expanded into many areas that would have been unthinkable when it was just a search engine. That impressive amount of success is enough to turn more than a few heads, with many organizations holding Google up as a standard that other companies should imitate. Every business, whether big or small, faces different needs and challenges of course, but there are some underlying ideas, strategies, and principles that could benefit a company if they hope to follow in Google’s footsteps, even if it’s just in a small way. Some of these ideas may seem counterintuitive at first, but Google has shown that they can work by transforming the way businesses operate. Here are just a few ideas that companies can take away from the internet giant.

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Google has transformed the way managers work and fit within an organization. If there’s one word to describe the work culture over at Google, it would be “freedom.” Management at Google isn’t the centralized authority that has been the staple at businesses for decades. Instead, leadership roles are shared across an entire team, limiting the actual amount of “managing” that’s going on and expanding it to include other employees. The act of making decisions, in other words, is handled by individual employees and teams, not the managers. This gives workers a chance to grow in their respective roles and get a taste for leadership when they otherwise wouldn’t. Some of these decisions can include things like rating someone’s performance, who should be promoted, and when to launch a product. By sharing managing duties and increasing employee autonomy, Google experiences improved performance and productivity, a pattern seen in other companies that have adopted the same philosophy.

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One thing Google is well known for in terms of their work environment is their use of the open office. Unlike traditional office places where workers have their individual cubicles that separate them from everybody, open offices are where employees share a common area.There are few walls, if any, and workers are encouraged to walk freely and converse with other teams. No one feels isolated. This idea encourages collaboration and creativity among employees, a particularly important trait for companies nowadays. It also helps employees feel more social, fostering a sense of community and teamwork when otherwise workers may stick to themselves. That doesn’t mean all privacy is given up, but it does break down barriers that might be hindering better cooperation and communication.

Google is also famous for the benefits the company gives to its employees. Some of these perks are enticing, like free oil changes at the office, but many businesses may feel like providing more and more benefits is simply out of reach due to limited funds and resources. While having an on-site masseuse is likely out of the question for most companies, benefits are still an important part of the equation when it comes to retaining employees. Better healthcare options or more vacation time are all within the realm of possibility. Not only will more benefits help keep good workers at your company for longer, it may even attract new faces to the organization. Providing for more benefits indicates a strong company culture that truly cares about the workers.

Google also places an emphasis on hiring the right talent. While this may not be new for companies, Google does tend to focus on certain aspects that other businesses might not consider when making a new hire. Google’s leaders have stated that they love to bring on people who are intellectually curious and ready to grow and learn. It’s not just about being an expert marketing guru or big data scientist, it’s all about having the willingness to step outside their comfort zone and stretch themselves in new and different ways. Prioritizing hiring the right people has helped Google stay on top for many years now.

These are just a few of the ways Google runs its business differently compared to others. While each of them may not be the right fit for just any company, they’re ideas that are worth considering if a business hopes to maintain a high degree of success.

~ Rick Delgado