#1 Google India: In Search of Passion
The exceptional employee benefits and facilities coupled with high flexibility help employees in striking the right balance between work and life
To attract the right talent, Google has various outreach programs to encourage people from different backgrounds to apply
The most remarkable Internet story of our time has undoubtedly taken the right route in enabling the company to continuously stay ahead of the race. The Google culture stems from what was defined by the ‘Google guys’ - Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who said Google is not a conventional company. The Google culture is one that reeks of innovation and risk-taking, which have been the key factors responsible for the company’s advent into varied unique services over the years. Following a collaborative work culture that encourages innovation, Google India provides platforms such as encouraging people to spend 20 percent of their time in projects of their own interest and providing patent bonuses. The exceptional employee benefits and facilities coupled with high flexibility help employees in striking the right balance between work and life.
The unique aspects that attract people to join Google are the opportunity to contributions to the society, a corporate mission to bring knowledge to everyone, and an opportunity to work with some of the best brains in the industry. The need to foster a culture of innovation is kept in mind from the time when Googlers are hired. The company hires only those who are passionate about technology and about making a difference to the world. They invest in people with unique interests outside of work, be it scuba diving or kite flying. A lot of effort is made in finding talent with rounded interests so that people continue to add to the culture, are strong team players and add value from day one.
Employees are encouraged to take risks, challenge the status quo and are empowered to make decisions. This culture reaffirms their strong belief that ideas can come from anywhere and anyone. Thus, there is an entrepreneurial culture at Google because they want people to stay on the deck and take ownership for what they do.
The company lays great emphasis on employee communication and development. ‘Thank God It’s Friday’ (TGIF) was introduced by the Founders to connect directly with the employees. The revamped TGIF format spotlights new product innovations and provides ample time for Q&A on any and all topics. Google India hosts its own TGIFs with senior local leadership either in person or via videoconference and the management from Mountain View often joins in.
They hold an annual employee engagement survey where employees are asked about 100 questions on the culture, what they like about working at Google, about their manager, benefits, etc., and the information from the survey acts as a sense check on whether or not the company is on the right track in promoting the right culture. Google also has Champions who take actions on the survey results and these Champions represent the business side, which ensures there is follow-through action based on the Googlers’ survey results. They introduced ‘Project Oxygen’ this year, which is a mechanism to get feedback on what makes a great manager. For this, a manager is assessed against a set of eight predetermined attributes that define a very good manager at Google. That acts as another measure of employee engagement level in the organization. This takes account of whether or not managers are engaging with employees regularly, having good quality one-on-ones, and communicating and ensuring there is alignment between employee performance and organizational expectation.
To attract the right talent, Google has various outreach programs to encourage people from different backgrounds to apply. The Google internship program provide people the experience of working with Google; the ‘Women in Engineering Award’; and the ‘Ambassador Program’ to create the right brand pull at campuses. They reach out to potential candidates through different channels to ensure the right people join. Google has tied up with schools through its ‘Doodle for Google’ program - a platform for students to apply their creativity on the Google logo.
Keeping up with the changing aspirations of today’s talent, they launched the ‘Global Rotation Program’, which provides Googlers a chance to work in another country. ‘I-Magnat’ is another initiative which is an internal job portal where fresh openings are uploaded and employees can also put their individual profiles for others to view when looking for specific skills. The ‘Career Week’ is aims to educate Googlers on their career advancement opportunities within Google. This includes the ‘Career Panel’ where leaders share their career philosophy; a session on ‘Internal Mobility’ and a ‘Career Fair’ where each business unit talks about their business.
Together with the numerous unique initiatives that are added from time-to-time to cater to the employees’ needs at Google, what makes Google a great workplace is their prominence in communication and transparency, continuous employee development and the culture of innovation.