Key Lesson: Take time to connect with your employees. It can really pay off.
It’s no secret that Google employees enjoy some of the best corporate perks and benefits available. Great pay, paternity leave equal to maternity leave, free gourmet food and the welcome mat out for the family dog are just a few of the things that keep Googlers happy. Still, the most important thing to many of them is the connection they feel with their boss, CEO Larry Page.
In Glassdoor’s latest annual ranking of CEOs, Page came out on top with a 97% approval rating from employees. As Glassdoor analyst Scott Dobroski told the Huffington Post, “This ranking comes directly from employees. It’s according to people who really know their CEOs best.” Since Page was 11th on the list last year, the big question is what changed? The answer: Page made himself more available to employees or, as Dobroski puts it, “he showed face at more employee events” and “acted on the same level as other employees.”
It could be that going to employee events and acting on a level with employees is something that Page is somewhat uncomfortable with. One of his best pieces of advice is to “always work hard on something uncomfortably exciting.” We suspect he may be taking his own advice. After all, back in 2011, a Business Insider article suggested that Page “will find interacting with other people the most challenging part of his new job.” The same article also noted that Page would need to reckon with his reputation as “egomaniacal” and a “jerk”.
Larry Page is our Grounded Leader of the Week for understanding the need to connect with his corporate community — and for recognizing that while he may be CEO, he’s also an employee. His participation in that context is clearly valued by the people he works with.