At one time it was almost 10 times harder to get a job at Google than it was to get into Harvard…
Back in 2014, I wrote an article in Forbes exploring 15 reasons why. Here is a synopsis:
1. Dollars and Sense – With billions of dollars in revenue every year, Google pays some of the highest average salaries in the tech industry.
2. On Purpose – Google has always pursued a noble cause. The company was founded with a simple motto, ”Don’t be evil.” Its mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible.
3. Caring – No stone is left unturned in their quest to provide a welcoming work environment for employees. Actions speak louder than mere words. Why is caring so important to the company? According to the former Chief People Officer Laszlo Bock:
“It turns out that the reason we’re doing these things for employees is not because it’s important to the business, but simply because it’s the right thing to do.”
4. Creative Outlet – Google allows its employees the option to use up to 20% of their work week at Google to pursue special projects.
5. A Voice – The Google-O-Meter gives all employees a voice on employee suggestions and potential cultural changes.
6. Benefits Beyond the Grave – Should a U.S. Googler pass away while working for Google, their surviving spouse or domestic partner will receive a check for 50% of their salary every year for the next decade.
7. Modern Family – Google gives employees in same-sex relationships extra cash to cover their partners’ health benefits.
8. Bathrooms – Googlers have access to some of the most high-tech Japanese toilets around.
9. Kingpin – The company knows how to roll. Google has a bowling alley for employees.
10. Training & Development – Google’s “CareerGuru” program matches Google executives with Google employees to provide confidential, one-on-one career coaching and guidance.
11. Wellness – The Googleplex has some interesting lap pools. The outdoor mini-pools are like water treadmills.
12. Team Building – Google’s Conference Bike is used as a team-building exercise for new employees.
13. Collaborative Space – Google’s corridors are designed and set up for impromptu information sharing. Offices don’t resemble a typical corporate environment. Google arranges the workstations so that groups of three to four employees who work together sit in the same area.
14. Food & Beverage – Is the way to an employee’s heart through their stomach? One of the most oft-cited perks of working at Google is the food. If you work at the Googleplex, you can eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner free of charge.
15. Openness and Transparency – One of things shaping culture at the search leader are “TGIF” meetings. They tend to happen most Fridays. TGIF is where any Googler is free to ask the founders any company-related question. They’ve become a fixture of the culture.
Google didn’t become a happy company by mistake. It’s a product of thoughtful design and ultimately, culture. Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin set the groundwork for building Google.
But maybe there is a deeper reason for creating a more welcoming and fulfilling workplace. Here is a quote from CEO Page’s Commencement Address at the University of Michigan in May 2009:
“My father’s father worked in the Chevy plant in Flint, Michigan. He was an assembly line worker. My Grandpa used to carry an “Alley Oop” hammer—a heavy iron pipe with a hunk of lead melted on the end. The workers made them during the sit-down strikes to protect themselves. When I was growing up, we used that hammer whenever we needed to pound a stake or something into the ground. It is wonderful that most people don’t need to carry a heavy blunt object for protection anymore.”
It bears repeating. Larry Page’s grandfather used to take a hammer to work for protection. I can only imagine this was a constant reminder of the quest for a happy workplace at Google.