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techsuch May 9, 2021 0 Comments

The Google Effect and How to Stop the High Turnover in TechAccording to a Google search, the “Google effect” refers to the tendency toforget information that can be found online. Perhaps that definition should beexpanded to include how Google and other early tech winners helped create theemployee engagement practices that contribute to the high turnover ratesplaguing the industry today.Look at the recruitment websites of IT and IT-dependent startup and emergingcompanies. You see a lot of the same things—an emphasis on fun workplaces,flexible work hours, social interaction, time off for self-improvement andparticipation in cause-related activities.Unfortunately, the approach doesn’t work. Exhibit A is Google itself.According to PayScale, the turnover rate among Fortune 500 companies isgreatest in the IT industry, and the median employee tenure at Google is justmore than a year. Yet Google consistently ranks as the “No. 1 company to workfor” by Fortune magazine. If the PayScale study is right, somewhere there’s agap between reputation and reality.Yet startup and emerging companies flock to replicate the model. In doing so,they fail to differentiate themselves while risking their very survival. Ifyou don’t have Google-like profits, you can’t sustain the reported Google-liketurnover.Moreover, Google and its peers are large, sophisticated organizations. Theiremployee engagement practices no doubt involve a lot more than what isapparent. With their comparatively fewer resources and bare-bones humanresource infrastructures, the startup and emerging companies are left to offera “lite” version of what the large tech companies provide.In sum, many are offering a watered-down version of a flawed model.A Game-Changing OpportunityRecent breakthroughs in organizational psychology show why the current modelis flawed and provide a clear roadmap to building highly-motivated teamcultures that are productive, creative and committed.Startup and emerging company leaders can outflank competitors who vie withthem for talent simply by adopting a different approach. Many of the largecompanies—including the early tech winners—have their entrenched philosophiesand practices.A grounding in motivational psychology helps. Motivations are at the core ofhuman behavior and decision-making, and there are three types: 1. Intrinsic—reflective of deep, personal values and beliefs. 2. Extrinsic—tangible rewards, such as pay, approval, punishment. 3. Introjected—doing things I feel I “should” do.According to a dominant theory of motivation, the more self-determined aperson’s behavior, the greater the individual’s motivation. Satisfying anindividual’s deepest intrinsic motivations is the most self-determined—andtherefore most effective—form of motivation. By contrast, extrinsic andintrojected motivations are least self-determined, and therefore lessmotivating. More so, numerous studies have shown that tangible rewardssignificantly undermine feelings of autonomy that are central to self-determination.By offering their “progressive” package of perks and workplace goodies, manyemerging companies aren’t fulfilling their employees’ intrinsic motivations;they’re simply offering more creative extrinsic motivations. Understandingthis, is there any wonder why turnover in tech is so high?The New Motivational LeaderMany are satisfied to justify the high turnover in tech by putting the onus onthe new generations of workers. They say the young, smart Generation Y andMillennial hires that dominate the workforce are redefining the concept ofloyalty. Poppycock. Maybe it’s that the new generation of leaders don’t knowhow to inspire loyalty.Too many entrepreneurs fall into the narcissistic trap that comes with beingin the constant position of having to sell “your vision” and “your company.”Investors and other important stakeholders encourage it by equating anentrepreneur’s single-minded, obsessive pursuit of a business idea as“passion.”The problem is many entrepreneurial leaders lose site of the fact that peoplearen’t buying into the entrepreneur’s passion or vision. Instead, they areconsciously or unconsciously evaluating whether participating in making thatvision a reality meets their intrinsic motivational needs.A box of toys to go along with that is nice, but won’t make the difference interms of employee performance or commitment. Research shows it can bedetrimental.Leaders who focus on explaining their vision in ways others find interestingand aligned with personal values engender greater productivity, creativity andcommitment. This is the hallmark of a motivational leader, and it stands indirect contrast to the narcissistic or command-and-control leadership stylesthat dominated past generations.Generation Y and Millennial workers are smart—and they demand leaders whodemonstrate a higher level of sophistication by understanding and accessingemployee motivations. That doesn’t mean catering to their every whim. It meanstapping into their sense of purpose.Developing Highly-Motivated TeamsThe key to becoming a motivational leader is the ability to identifyindividual motivations. This is critical not just to satisfy a person’sintrinsic motivational needs, but to create a team of people with acomplementary range of motivations. That ideal complement of motivationalprofiles is the formula for building a committed, winning team.We have seen in studies where entrepreneurial leaders, consciously orunconsciously, screen for people just like them (or people they just like) inmaking hiring decisions. But they would be more effective leaders if theydeveloped their organizations using the same disruptive mindset they apply toproduct development.We recently completed a study of an emerging technology company’s motivationalprofile. The CEO had excelled at creating an outstanding culture of peoplededicated to customer service—the company’s main selling proposition. However,growth was stagnant. This was due in part to the company’s motivational mix.Growth companies are fueled by a combination of creativity, strategic planningand task-orientation—motivations completely absent from the company’s employeemotivational profile. To grow, that CEO’s priority became to screen forcomplementary but additive motivational types in their recruitment in order tofill this critical void. To lead that newly-enhanced group, he’ll also have tohone his motivational leadership skills.In developing their cultures and teams, startup and emerging companies shouldemulate Google and the other early tech winners. Not in the employeeengagement practices they use today, but in the disruptive mindset theydisplayed in their earlier days.(For more information, read the White Paper: To discover your own motivations go to

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