Employee Recognition Programs at Google – Going Beyond the Perks

Employee Recognition Programs at Google – Going Beyond the Perks

September 22, 2016

Back in 2013, we wrote an article about how Google manages its employee recognition. Just like the company’s innovative technology, the way Google engages employees and keeps them motivated has also evolved. Google aims to create an office for work and play, but also treats employees well, and the company in return gets employees that are motivated and loyal.

Attainable Goals and an Environment That Matters

While Google does some pretty amazing things for its employees, it shouldn’t necessarily be the gold standard when it comes to what an engaged workforce should look like. In reading the articles on what makes working at Google so great, it is evident that there are many things done right. But, realistically, most organizations (that aren’t the top place to work in America) cannot implement such grand initiatives.

Life at Google can seem unattainable to most. I mean, who has slides, massages, and nap pods at their office? But the reasoning and mission behind every “perk” is something to strive for and can easily be adopted by any other organization. So here are some of the programs at Google that keep employees engaged and the company at the top, and how these concepts might apply for your own people.

Make it Meaningful

Google creates an environment where employees feel that their work makes the world a better place. 73% of Google employees find their jobs to be meaningful. This can be traced back directly to the company’s mission “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Google gives people purpose; to contribute to society to better the worldwide population. They feel they are working toward a better future.

Google HR boss Laszlo Bock explains in his book that this is “a moral rather than a business goal.” Google employees have expressed that meaningful and challenging projects are what attracted them to and keeps them at the company.

It’s no secret that Google only hires the best and the brightest in all areas of the company. This allows great minds to feed off and learn from each other, creating an environment of inspiration and collaboration. People are the company’s best asset, and employees find themselves challenged and energized from working so closely with other great minds.

Show you Care

Additionally, Google offers a lot of opportunity for career growth and development resources in order to help employees advance in their careers. This is extremely important in the workforce today and in the future, and gives employees a reason to stick around and work hard.

Google also shows consideration for its “Googlers.” The company provides benefits for the whole family with some of the best maternity and paternity leave, death benefits for deceased family members, and furthering education leave. PTO and extended leaves are actually encouraged so employees can get involved in the community, spend time with family, or recharge.


It seems Google genuinely cares about the well-being of employees.

There is medical staff on campus, free fitness classes and gyms, and encouraged rest breaks to get in a quick run or recharge the batteries. With such resources in place to allow the best workplace possible, only 28% of Google’s employees choose to telecommute.

Similarly, unlimited sick days rely on the honor system, but instill trust. On Glassdoor, one employee writes, “If you’re lucky, you won’t have a micromanager boss and you can be somewhat flexible in how you work. But don’t get me wrong — you’ll work a lot. But you don’t have to do all of it chained to your desk.” If you take care of your employees, they will take care of you.

Going Beyond the Perks

Business Insider shows a run-down of some of Google’s “perks” and how much they cost here. Surprisingly, most of these are free for the company, and some can be duplicated by other organizations. But as the article states, “If companies want to push themselves toward a culture more resembling Google’s, it’s less important to have a ton of money and more important to try to say yes to employee ideas.”

Encouraging passion, motivating through recognition, and creating an environment where employees genuinely feel cared for, respected, and heard is the lesson Google can teach us all. Although some aspects of the company’s recognition initiatives may seem a little excessive, Google has really shown just how to innovate in their work environment in order to keep growing and succeeding.