Google Tapping Into Workplace Actualization With Their 20% Time Rule



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  • Self-actualization – the tip at the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – might be easily recognizable to anyone who remembers their first class of business studies, but helping employees reach the pinnacle of this well-known pyramid is a trickier task. Self-actualization is the ultimate goal – for any company’s engagement strategy and for us as human beings. When a company’s employees are self-actualized, that’s when they are able to tap into their full potential as contributors to an organization. They are the hallmark of an ideal employee, manager and leader.

    Google has always had the reputation for being extremely popular for for its unique and whacky approach to innovation – from its open culture, its super radical work environment in its uber cool Googleplex campus to its methods for innovation. And perhaps this is precisely why it has fueled its growth meteorically from its formation in 1998 to become a $62 billion turnover company by 2014. With this same approach to innovation, Google tried to reach this magic pinnacle by introducing something that they coined as the “20% time rule.” One of its best known innovation mechanisms was its policy of ‘20% time’ which allowed its engineers to spend 20% of their time on personal projects. This is a policy where employees of Google are encourages in addition to their regular projects, to spend 20% of their time working on what they think will most benefit Google. It is believed that this can empower Googlers (as they call their employees)to be more creative and innovative.

    And voila, the result of this policy included the development of products that include the Google News, Gmail, and even AdSense. Though there are some debates about the usefulness of this policy I still believe it is a great one to reach Abraham Maslow’s self-actualization need.. If you give me 20% of the time (say, Wednesday) away from my desk and daily work, with a single purpose of being creative, I should be able to generate some great ideas.

    Think about it…

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    Dr. Khyati Shetty

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