#1 Google India: Searching Its Way To The Top
Working at Google is not about the number of hours you put in but the passion with which you work within the stipulated time frame
Google stands for viz. working with great people, innovation being the lifeblood of Google and Googlers,constantly challenging the status quo
It seems almost certain now that ‘Google’ and ‘innovation’ are synonymous to each other. And to make sure that this sense of innovation is deeply instilled in the work culture at Google India, Googlers (as the employees are fondly referred to as) enjoy the freedom to innovate and spend 20% of their time on anything they are really passionate about. It was perhaps this freedom that led to the creation of the path breaking Google Map Maker in 2008 which was conceived and developed by the Indian engineering team. Having set Indian operations in 2003, Google India has achieved the numero uno spot in Great Place to Work® Institute’s Study. Also ranked #1 in the Industry Category of the IT sector, Google India has always adopted a collaborative work culture encouraging employees to build a unique camaraderie amongst each other through programs such as Peer Bonus (where an employee nominates a co-worker or a colleague for a bonus for helping him achieve his target or complete an assignment), Know Your Noogler Wall (where interesting trivia about new joiners are put up along with their goofy pictures to help others know them well), et al.
Interesting enough, when People Matters asked (on separate occasions) Shailesh Rao, MD, and D.N. Prasad, Program Manager – People Technology and Operations & People Brand – JAPAC about the three things that make Google India a great workplace personally for them, the response was unanimous: “The sheer brilliance and caliber of great minds they get to work with, the sense of pride they get out of this unique opportunity to make a change to the world, and lastly, the extensive focus on innovation that enables them to passionately and constantly think of innovative products and services and keeps them motivated each single day.” They share their thoughts with us on the success story of Google India as a great workplace.
What are the HR practices followed at Google India that differentiates it from its counterparts in the industry?
Shailesh Rao: We provide a sense of empowerment to our employees and encourage them to take initiatives. We have bright young people working for us who have this urge to be heard, which compels them to always think of innovation and be empowered. Secondly, we give them a fun and stimulating work environment so as to enhance their productivity. Working at Google is not about the number of hours you put in but with how much passion you work within the stipulated time frame.
Would you say that Google India is a great workplace because it is a successful company, or vice versa?
D.N. Prasad: If you look at the values of Google, then there are a few things among many that Google stands for viz. working with great people, innovation being the lifeblood of Google and Googlers, constantly challenging the status quo, empowerment to employees, diversity to reflect our user base in our workforce, etc. Leveraging on the capability of its people to come out with brilliant products and services, Google has become what it is today and expanded its customer base across the globe. I would say that Google is a successful company because it is a great workplace and enjoys the complete passion and commitment of its people.
How do practices such as Peer Bonus Programs help in team building and eventually contribute to the success of the organisation?
D.N. Prasad: These programs are not as much about team building but for celebrating the success of the organization. These programs are not only for team building but also ensure good practices and recognition at peer and functional levels.
Given the vastness and diversity of the workforce at Google India, how do you go about managing this diversity?
Shailesh Rao: It starts with treating everybody with respect regardless of role, gender and position. Secondly, by giving freedom and empowerment to people to take decisions. I fundamentally believe that 1,500 smart managers have the capability to take better decisions than a handful of senior managers. Further, we keep on conducting formal and informal forums and one-on-one meetings to enable employees across functions and levels to interact with each other.