Life @ Google

What do you need to work for one of the world’s most innovative companies?
By Dorothée Burkman
Fri 25 Apr 2014 10:26 AM

Many people wonder what life at Google is like. We believe our workplace - like the web - should be open, transparent and interconnected. We believe in data, and measurement to help us understand how to make Google a better place to work and we do what we can to make Google the healthiest and happiest place to work. Here are a few guiding principles that we practise as part of Life at Google.

We work hard to create the healthiest, happiest and most productive work environments possible that support peak performance and inspire wellbeing.

At Google, our commitment to our employees is based on the same approach we take to developing our products: focus on the user and all else will follow. We take a holistic view on health and including the physical, emotional, financial and social health of Googlers. Investing in Googlers drives business outcomes that we care about: innovation and retention. And we know that happier employees are more productive, and more likely to stay at Google. We provide Googlers information, options and resources to make healthy choices that work for them.

People come here to do cool things that matter. From Search to Android, YouTube to Chrome, Fiber to Maps, Googlers work on products that touch billions of people around the globe and transform the way they access and use information. We’re very lucky to get over two million job applications per year, so we seek out those that want to solve hard problems and work to change the world.

Think big. Then think bigger. Like 10x bigger. We’re encouraged to think five steps ahead and ten times bigger; to be visionary, not incremental. Google is all about solving big problems. We like to take on complex challenges in what we refer to as “moonshot thinking”. Examples of this Google philosophy include the driverless cars project, Project Loon which aims to provide WiFi to remote areas on the planet, and so on. Such projects set the bar really high for every one of us. This is equally related to the HR field as we are constantly striving to help build the best managers.

Googlers are what make Google great. People are our most valuable resource, and we strive to ensure that Googlers reflect the diversity of our users. We hire great people who can get the job done but get it done in the right way. Being “Googley” is just as important as being smart. We seek people who work well with others, move quickly, communicate openly and ask forgiveness instead of permission. People matter, that is why we care so much about how we hire them. We don’t hire individuals for a job, we hire them for careers. We want to hire people who believe they can make a big impact and use technology to transform the way people work, live, and do business.

You can be serious without a suit but you don’t have to be serious all the time. We work hard here, but we also make sure we have some fun along the way and part of that means not taking ourselves too seriously.

If you give people freedom, they will amaze you. You can’t give someone an instruction manual to change the world. Googlers come here to build, lead, break, create, improve, ship, and shoot for the moon. Our career paths are as varied as Googlers themselves; we switch roles within the company so they’re always working on challenging problems. We give Googlers tonnes of options to develop themselves, and then get out of the way and let them choose what’s best for them.

Things here are pretty awesome, and that’s by design. We have some cushy benefits but that’s because it makes us happier, more productive and more willing to stay at Google (and by the way, we think it is the right thing to do).

Dorothée Burkman, Director of HR Global Business Partners EMEA, Google.

For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.

Last Updated: Thu 04 May 2017 08:47 AM GST

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.