Give Employees The Freedom They Need to Succeed

Google gives its engineers 20% of their time to work on personal projects that have resulted in Google news, Gmail, and Google Finance. Google didn’t do this out of the goodness of their heart. They know they can’t stop their creative people from creating. So Google lets them come up with their own ideas and run with them like a drunk clutching a hot ember.

Their employees consistently reward them with fresh new concepts that have helped Google grow their market share.

Give the Freedom

You can give your employees the freedom to work on their personal projects too. If they can figure out a personal project that will help the company, then give them 10% of their time to work on it.

If they can’t figure out a project to help the company then they receive one hour each week to work on a personal project of their choice. It could be knitting or writing a book.

Make it Perk

Every company I’ve ever worked for had employees who wasted time chatting to each other, surfing the internet or taking a nap in the back room, so why not designate a time for it? I know 99.99% of bosses will call me crazy, but why not let them have some fun?

If they are going to do it, you may as well make it seem like a perk.

A company should work with employees to make them feel awesome, not micromanage them until they get sick and tired of old eagle eye watching their every move. Creating freedom at work is about letting employees optimize their production. Only they know how to get the most out of themselves. It’s the company’s job to give them the resources to make it happen.

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Comments

  1. Great article! Perks don’t always have to be your typical money bonuses – they can also be a new title, designated workout time, free lunch coffee, personal website and the like.

    Data points, Barbara

  2. Hi Barbara, you are right perks don’t have to be money. In fact studies show that more money is less of a perk for most people. By giving them something they value more (their time) they will be more loyal.

  3. I like your point on making employees feel awesome. I think that’s the key to great results. It’s passion that makes things happen.

  4. Hi Karl: Google`s policy goes so much further than simply having a suggestion box. It`s saying: if you see a way to make things better around here, do it (on company time). I think it encourages employees to be creative and to feel that they have a stake in the company.

  5. I think this is a great way to get people inspired and passionate about the work they are doing. And when people are passionate about one of their projects at work, they’ll often do better on their other projects as well.

    Interesting take on the perk thing–turn an every day occurrence into something that sounds like a positive. It seems kind of like rewarding people for showing up on time though–aka it’s almost an expectation over a perk. But I guess to know that a culture supports mini breaks is a nice feeling.

  6. What an interesting concept…. letting your employees imaginations run wild and seeing what kind of crazy ideas they come up with. Well if this is how great creations like Gmail started, then why not?