Google is one of the best places to work in the world. Even without its above-average salaries and office spaces that look and feel like some of the best hotels, with professionally designed spaces, on-site restaurants, fitness centers, and massages, the company’s reputation is enough to bring in a lot of people. But Googlers aren’t just happy with their jobs because they have nice offices, free food, or a lot of power. In fact, most people would guess that it would make staff run away.
In a separate effort to get employees to work harder, Google found a very simple way to make employees happier and more fulfilled: give them more work.
Yes, you read that right: if you want your workers to be happier, give them more work, not less. In fact, it’s the core of the strangest but most effective Great Resignation strategy.
Employee burnout is on the rise, which is understandable for those in understaffed fields like restaurants and retail. However, many other people feel burnt out not because they are overworked but because they aren’t working enough. Psychology Today, which calls it “bored-out,” says that this is because boredom is a little-known cause of burnout.
Here are three simple, seemingly backward ways that any business can use from Google to make their employees happier:
1. Give your employees more meaning by giving them more work
Even though no one wants to be too busy, one of the worst parts of a job is when there isn’t enough to do and time moves at a snail’s pace. When employees are stuck watching the clock, it’s not only annoying for them, but it’s also not good for the business.
Giving employees more work makes them happier because it gives them a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Boredom and its effects on the mind are less important than this. When employees feel like they are always getting things done and meeting deadlines, they take pride in their work and are happy with it.
Psychologically, everyone needs to feel like they have a purpose in life. We need to feel like what we’re doing is important and worthwhile. Cornell University research shows that having a sense of purpose has a wide range of benefits for people that go far beyond the workplace.
2. Get your staff involved in projects that aren’t directly related to their jobs
One way to get employees more involved and give them more to do without just giving them more of the same work is to give them different tasks and have them work on projects and teams other than their own. It helps people bring their own unique skills, knowledge, and points of view to the table. It also helps them build more professional relationships and learn from each other.
It makes people more flexible, which is good for both the employee and the employer. And it can also help you figure out which staff members would be good candidates for a promotion. Because it helps employers learn more about their employees, it helps them figure out what their strengths are.
Research from the University of Minnesota shows that when people are given higher goals, they actually do better than when they are given lower goals. And one thing Google does really well is set very high goals for its employees. It’s not surprising that its team of overachievers is able to meet its goals, even though they are much higher than the average in the industry.
Even though it seems counterintuitive, statistics show that it’s better for staff to feel like they have too much to do than too little. For example, a recent study of 2,000 full-time workers found that those who had more responsibility at work felt more satisfied than those who had less to do.
The LinkedIn study found that 71 percent of employees who felt like they had “too much work” were happy at their jobs, while only 62 percent of those who felt like they had “too little work” were happy. Interestingly, the study also found that employees who thought they had “too much work” were also more productive.
It’s not about bosses turning workers into slaves. It’s about employers having faith in their employees and helping them grow their skills so they can reach new heights.
When we give people the chance to do more than just their daily tasks, we help them go to new heights. People feel more important when they can show how important they are. People feel like they are doing a good job and that they are important at work. When they feel this way and their job gives them skills that could help them get a job somewhere else, they tend to stay.