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Keeping Google "Googley"

How company policies have transformed Google into becoming the tech powerhouse it is today.

Emilia Wilson

on 17 April 2013

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Transcript of Keeping Google "Googley"

Google expanded from 3,021 workers in 2004 to 16,805 workers in 2007
Translates to a growth of 150% each year
Hiring at Google is intesive and data-driven
Staffers go through millions of resumes each year
Interviews are conducted with up to 8 current Google employees and are scored Overview 1998 - $1 million from angel investors
1999 - 500,000 search inqueries a day, $25 million in venture capital
2000 - 100 million search inqueries a day, Google Toolbar, AdWords
2001 - reached profitability
2002 - $440 million in revenues, $100 million in profit, 680 employees
2004 - Google's IPO raised $2 billion
2004-2007 - Book Search, News, Finance, Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Spreadsheets, Blogger, Checkout, Maps, Mobile
2007 - 587.8 million users per month, 62.4% of market share, $16.6 billion in revenues and $4.2 billion in net income, 120 global domains
2008 - $564.30 share price Organizational Structure AdSense Organziation Recruiting Compensation Management Decision Making Managing the Potential By-Products of Rapid Growth Innovation Training Performance Reviews Promotions AdWords AdSense Launched in 2000 Helps advertisers create and deliver ads that are targeted to searches or other web content bases on keywords Ads displayed on Google's sites and third-party sites in the Google Content Network Cost-per-impression and cost-per-click Software and staff provided to help design and execute ad campaigns Launched in 2003 Presents AdWord ads on relevant searches and websites Content publishers join Google Content Network Google's targeting system chooses best spot for an ad Key metrics:
What advertisers are willing to pay for cost-per-click or -impression
Number of registered sites
Revenue generated Other Products and Services 40 different products, services and applications Nearly all free, paid for by AdWords and AdSense Five categories of products: Mobile
Mobile calendar
Mobile search
Mobile Gmail Enterprise
Corporate users
Maps for enterprise Applications
Google Calendar
Google Docs
YouTube Advertising
Analytical tools Search
Search all types of online information Google Strategy "the perfect search engine that would understand exactly what the user means and give back exactly what the user wants" Most of the resources go to improving the search experience and developing sophistocated advertising systems New outlets - mobile, productivity apps, online video Triumvirate: Schmidt, Brin, Page
Schmidt - legal role of the CEO, manages VPs and sales organization
Brin - engineering and business dealsP
Page - engineering and product management
Organized by function:
Product Management Sales Operations Legal Finance Director of Online Sales and Operations (OSO) - Kim Scott Product Management Director - Brian Axe Engineering Directors - Joerg Heilig and Bhavesh Mehta Product Marketing Manager - Gopi Kallayil Sign-up, management, optimization, payments Translated product specifications into software code Features and functionality of the product Identify customer needs Increase customer awareness AdSense Team 2004 - 90 people on AdSense team 2008 - 30 people added in the U.S., 80 people added outside of the U.S., bringing full team to 200 Decided to keep the group "small and nimble" Kim Scott has eight direct reports who manage current business and develop growth areas "Flat" organization
Loose organizational structure
Aversion to top-down management
95% of respondents to a recent survey showed that Google employees feel that their managers work for them
Employees are self-managed and self-motivated Management training programs focusing on coaching and people development Classes available on job coaching and career management New hires receive training about Google's cultural norms and shared language Google pays for classes to help employees become more effective in their role New-Hire Characteristics Sheer intelligence isn't the only metric: Candidates must be able to fit within the Google culture Classes topics from finance to sales Language classes "Learners" Google wants employees who are innovative and resourceful.
Personality Type: ENTP Performance reviews once or twice a year Feedback from managers, peers, and direct reports Calibrated across the company to ensure consistency "Professional development framework" for positions at each level which outlines requirements for promotions in various categories, such as: Promotions twice a year Innovation and creativity Collaboration and teamwork Googliness Customer focus Taking initiative Decision making Delivering results Communication Google offers extensive benefits to its employees.
Employees receive bonuses, stock options, benefits, and perks along with their salaries.
Salaries are considered competitive in regards to other companies in the tech industry.
Employee satisfaction is high: Google enjoys a very high employee retention ratio relative to other companies in the industry. Stock Options The better the company does, the better the employee gets compensated Unique Perks Google offers its employees with facilities and events atypical to most other companies. Employee Interaction Promotes mutual respect amongst the positions at Google. Typical Perks Hybrid car subsidies Employee Satisfaction The benefits at Google satisfy the employees' physiological and social needs. "Consensus oriented" style of decision making
Meetings and long email threads to weigh the pros and cons
Suzy Dewey, manager in AdSense, "When I started..., we used to make decisions by having all the managers get in one room and talking them through. We still do that, but now the room may have 20 or more people..."
Participative path-goal theory leadership
AdSense team communicates frequently on management of the business
Sometimes two individuals, one from engineering and one from product side, are paired together as a leadership team along with sales "People at Google mean well and they want the best solution. Anyone can appeal a policy and if they don't like it, we can usually move ahead if 80% of the decision makers agree." - Bhavesh Mehta, engineering director Reaching an Agreement Creativity and Innovation are core values at Google
"We devote extraordinary resources to finding the smartest, most creative people we can and offering them the tools they need to change the world." - Page, founder
Formal and Informal mechanisms to encourage innovation
"20% Time" - engineers allowed one day per week to devote time to anything they want
"Recognition Awards" - given to employees who demonstrate innovation
"Google Founders' Awards" - stock grants given to teams who are doing "outstanding" work at Google Brought idea to manager who loved it and told her to order them for her team and her international colleagues along with a training manual AdSense OSO's "Ideas Contest" Google encouraged creativity not only for work, but also for employees' personal lives
Conditions necessary for individual creativity: Expertise, intrinsic motivation, creative-thinking skills Other Innovation Techniques Google wants its employees to figure things out for themselves instead of asking how to do it. They want them to adapt to situations and be creative. Employees are Risk Takers Google uses stock options considerably to compensate its employees. Stock option payouts were larger than their cash counterparts for employees hired before 2008. Why stock options? Stock options can motivate employees to work for the company's best interest. Google promotes employee wellness by catering to all of their needs. Personal benefits offered: On-site health care
Free meals
Workout facilities Convenience: Free shuttles in the Bay Area On-site child care On-site laundry Facilities/equipment available:
Swimming pools
Video games
Foosball tables
Workout rooms
Free classes Employee events:
Ski trips
Discounted massages The company events at Google are used to promote cohesiveness amongst the employees.
Events are small enough to promote interaction within the group Google offices are designed for workers from different departments to interact with each other. Lunch tables are designed for people to sit with people they do not know: employees are encouraged to meet new people each day. Interaction helps build the strong community within Google. Employees at Google are very happy with their jobs In a 2007 survey, nearly all employees were satisfied by working for Google Some employees turn down highers pays at other companies to work at Google. "We hire people who are 'learners'- we want people who can infer meaning from what goes on around them"- Jeff Huber, Vice President of Engineering General cognitive ability is stressed with each position Candidates are assessed for: Initiative Flexibility Collaborative Spirit Brian Axe, AdSense product manager
"work closely with Kim on decisions that impact AdSense customers"
"we might escalate big decisions to the executive Google Product Strategy team, where the founders weigh in"
"toughest decisions are the medium-sized ones that are too small to escalate, but too big to just give in when there are differences of opinion" Decision making fluctuates depending on the importance "Ideas Team" review 100 to 200 online submissions each quarter from employees all around the world Invite finalists to present ideas at quarterly contest "Kim is a champion of new ideas, and wants us all to feel empowered to make changes even though we are a small part of a much larger organization." - Sarah Teng, AdSense account associate Teng drove initiative to make a repetitive approvals process less difficult Ergonomic keypad device=increase productivity by 133% Junior employees suggesting ways managers could make Google a better place "Core job palooza" Employees comfortable taking risks Believe failure was tolerated at all levels of the company "Rather he/she make a mistake in moving too fast than make no mistakes and move too slow." - Founder Larry Page Employees' concern regarding potential cultural and organizational changes
Fast growing companies accompanied by:
Slow decision making
Lack of visibility
International inconsistency Avoiding Bureaucracy "Avoiding Dilbertville"
Quarterly sessions discussing unnecessary policies or meetings Online tool which allows employees to share incidents and others could comment and rate on a scale from Dilberty to Googley. Maintaining Rapid Decision Making People must be open to others' ideas to work at Google Experienced managers can make decisions faster based on their own personal decision making mechanisms Cross-departmental collaboration is common The bigger the business within Google, the more communication necessary Ensuring Visibility Lack of visibility replication of effort Project database with information about all of the different engineering projects Fake dollars assigned in database to find "winning" project International Inconsistency Communication and consistency issues Google started international offices with "Googley" Californians International employees are asked to interpret the Google culture and bring a local flavor Unique outlooks from other cultures are valued Discussion Which personality traits does Google consider important for each employee?
How does the personality of each employee tie into the culture and mission of Google?
How would you rate the values of Google in regards to their hiring process? Discussion How does the compensation/benefits package promote employee motivation?
HINT: Maslow, Conley
Why do you believe Google employees are consistently happier/ more satisfied than employees at other companies? Discussion Discussion Google wants employees who are:
Flexible/ Open
Google focuses on innovation and adaptability; employees with the same traits can develop products with the same focuses. Discussion Google places tremendous weight on finding the right employee. It would much rather find the best match rather than mold the employee into the corporate culture.
Person-Organization Fit
Ideal employees show initiative
Proactive personalities
Internal locus of control Many benefits satisfy the requirements from Maslow's Hierarchy
Physiological: Health benefits, food, relaxation and convenience
Safety: Child-care, telecommuting, "green"
Belonging: Company events/ structures promote interaction and group formation
Esteem: Employees are trained to respect each position at Google
Self-Actualization: Google promotes flexibility and unique problems Discussion Conley's Hierarchy:
Google offers competitive compensation packages
All positions are respected and crucial to Google's mission
Employees are fulfilled; jobs are creative and not intensely structured Discussion "Google is respectful of our employees' time, and our perks often help people optimize their time..."- Kim Scott
Mutual respect and appreciation promoted job satisfaction
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