Empowerment, and complete transparency make Google in India a great place to work, says Prasenjit Bhattacharya
“For me, after working with Google, it has become easier to believe that the concept of a `dream job` can exist. And I would like more and more people passionate about work to know that a company/professional life that they dream of actually exists.” – Employee comment, Google India
Google is number one in our list of top 100 best workplaces in India. In US, it is number one in Fortune’s 100 best employers study done by Great Place to Work® Institute. It is also one of the most successful new age companies, creating more wealth in less time than any other organisation in the world.
Stories of Larry Page and Sergey Brin, co-founders of Google are popular across the business press. So by the time Google started operations in India, it was already a well-known name, especially amongst the internet users. Attracted by the power of the brand and the opportunity to work with really talented people, job aspirants talked about joining the organisation. They still do.
What makes Google India a great place to work?
1. Create significant entry barriers at recruitment stage
Considering that some of the best brains choose to apply to Google, the recruitment team should have it easy. Strangely, one of the few gripes in the organisation is about the time it takes to get the right person. Input control in Google is so strong that even today each employee’s profile and interview comments go to a sub-set of the global operating committee (the top 10 guys) before he or she is recruited!
Google’s core values start with the statement “We want to work with great people.” It is common for each candidate to have from five to seven interviews and even a junior person has veto power!
2. Trust, empowerment and freedom
“If you hire really smart people, you will have to have them work on really difficult problems,” says Rajan Anandan, MD, Google India
Once an employee joins Google, s/he experiences a pleasant change from many a previous employer. There is rarely a boss who continuously looks over his/her shoulder to figure out what they are doing. In fact, employees are officially told that they can utilise 20 per cent of their time doing whatever pleases them. Heard of Google Talk, Google News, Google Finance and Gmail? They all started as a “20 per cent project”!
Google’s philosophy is simple, ‘Get the brightest people in and create an enabling environment for them to perform’. Employees seem to reciprocate this trust by building great products and services. All new products are launched internally, so that employees get a chance to give their vote of confidence or lack of it before customers do. Employees keep developing their expertise and consequently roles keep changing to keep pace with the employee’s development. One rarely gets caught in an endless routine job. None of Google’s products remain the same even in the short term. And unknown to many, Google’s search quality keeps improving continuously.
3. Feedback, feedback and more feedback
Want to challenge a recent business decision or simply ask a question, TGIAF (Thank God it’s Almost Friday) is the forum. The format remains the same. ‘Googlers’ gather to celebrate accomplishments and this is followed by an open dialogue between employees and business leaders. To make the communication free-flowing, the Google moderator ensures that Googlers themselves vote and choose questions that will be answered at these meetings. Very few things are confidential. Eric Schmidt, chairman of the Board, sends the Board letter to all employees of Google.
The quarterly targets of any employee are available in the intranet. Google believes in taking stretch targets, and the targets and their achievement are transparent for all to see. When you have recruited some of the best brains, an open objectives and key results could be a powerful motivator. This is also a good antidote to inflated egos which some of the best brains are likely to develop in an environment where they are not surrounded by equally bright or brighter colleagues.
Says an employee, “At Google, one has the opportunity to participate in many different projects that are useful to the society. Our constant endeavours to make this world a better place is what makes Google a great place to work.”
The writer is CEO of Great Place to Work® Institute, India.