Why Google? The root of communication is the passing and sharing of information. Success of Google shows their understanding towards demands of people with different backgrounds both internally and externally. This understanding is made possible as a result of communication strategies. Google is able to communicate with people, understanding their demands and hence fulfilling them. Another reason why I have chosen Google is because while it is good at analysing and hence communicating with its customer, it had a history of bad public relations.
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Google communicates externally through online platform, social media, newsletter, annual reports and even in person.
All these tools used allow Google to approach people of different backgrounds, pass on and gather information simultaneously. Hence, enabling them to create and improvise.
Which Google try to communicate:
Intention of it is for people to discuss topics freely. It was supposed to enhance internal communications and allow all employees to share freely. However, too much freedom in communication leads to unhappiness, disrespect and miscommunications. One of the employees James Damore shared his views on how women as not as qualified as men. The internal memo got spread and eventually he was fired. This is an example of backlash for communications which are not monitored closely. After this incident, Google implemented a rule of “no nasty comments” or employees may face the consequence of being fired. This action definitely reduced sensitive comments which may spark unhappiness. However, it also limited the rights of Googlers to share their opinions.
Google conduct micro-meetings ranging from 5-15mins. This is to reduce waiting time and prevent meetings from becoming bottleneck in decision-making pipeline. Google also believe that meeting is not necessary for every single decision.
Google changed into open-concept office instead of classical cubicle office to encourage face-to-face interactions and sharing of information. Google also believes in having trust in their employees. Source code of their search engine is shared even with.
Google encourages casual culture whereby employees take breaks and make use of games and space provided. These games and space serve as platform for personal conversations and bonds to take place. Enhancing relationship between co-workers. This allows them to build trust among themselves and also with the management, bridging gaps in communications.
Google make use of surveys to collated data to make decisions and communicate opinions across company. However, one setback would be that sometimes unpopular but correct decisions are rejected. For example, as a result of data collated from employees, Google had to give up collaboration opportunities with Pentagon in developing Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems. This decision had resulted Google to loss the opportunity to explore into AI. They acquired the most number of start-ups in AI as a new interest, however lost possible resources from Pentagon as the possibility of developing AI weapon is unpopular among its employees. This example illustrates how too much democracy in communications and decision-making can hinder the growth of an organisation. Effective communication may not always bring about positive outcomes.
Google has done a good job in communicating with its customers, however, not so when it comes to public relations. With the aid of data, Google is able to receive information and react well in return. However, when it comes to public relations, where there is a lack in data and focuses more on appealing to others’ emotions, Google still has a lot of room for improvement. This can be seen from how Google handled the purchase of Motorola. Due to the lack of sensitivity when handling the purchase, Motorola sees Google as another Microsoft and felt betrayed by Google. Google had been effective in adopting different tools to reach out to people using actions and words by mouth instead of relying on traditional text-reliant way of communication style. The diversity of outreach projects by Google is a new style in communication whereby it bring people with common goals and objectives together, these projects serve as a platform for these people to communicate amongst themselves and also with Google, allowing it to always improvise.
In my opinion, Googlers are given too much freedom when it comes to communications. While it is important to allow freedom of speech, it is also important that people understand that this freedom should be taken advantage of. It is not a total freedom whereby reckless comments can be made on sensitive topics without consequences. Google emphasized too much on the freedom to communicate but neglected the purpose of communication. Fundamental purpose of communications is to relay and exchange information through sharing. Ultimate goal of communication in a company is to increase efficiency, extract creativity from individual, build company spirit and motivate everyone to achieve together. However, internal relationships between Googlers were endangered as a result of unmonitored communications. Growth of company was also hindered. This defeats the purpose of communication.
Although communications is important within the company, there are both pros and cons from it. Internal communication help build team dynamic within the company, bonding people together, allowing company to achieve and retain talents. External communications allow companies to seek opportunities, grow and also maintain good relationship with its consumers and partners. However, it should not be overdone. When too much focus is put on communications and everyone’s ideas have to be accounted for, it results in inefficient decision-making. Those who had their opinions disregarded even after participating in discussion will lose interest in contributing, this results in lost in talents. When too much focuses is put on external communications, expectations of outsiders may be overly high. Hence resulting in easy disappointment and lose of faith.
In conclusion, as much as communication is important, company should always find a balance and achieve the goals of communications rather than being overly focused on the process of it.
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