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Inside Google

It has been well documented that Google has a unique culture not representative of typical corporate culture. By looking at pictures from around the Googleplex, you can see that it looks more like a playground than a place of work. How much of Google’s success can be attributed to the fun designs and innovations around the campus? And what effect do Google values have on employees? Read on to find out more about the inside workings of one of the world’s most innovative tech giants.

Getting a job at Google is famously difficult. Each year Google gets over 2.5 million applicants. That’s equal to 6,849 per day and approximately 5 per minute. If you’re chosen for an interview at Google, you’ll receive questions like:

“How many golf balls can fit in a school bus?”

“There are 8 balls. Seven of them weigh the same, but one is heavier. Using a balance scale, how do you find the heavier ball with just two weighings?”

“Why are manhole covers round?”

“Use a programming language to describe a chicken.”

“How much would you charge to wash all the windows in Seattle?”

Google says the answers here aren’t as important as your thought process and how you think under pressure. These interview questions may seem unnecessary, but they are one method Google uses to find the clever, most thoughtful candidates.

Part of how Google attracts, retains, and keeps employees happy is by having a great culture with awesome perks, such as:

  • Free breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Free health and dental care
  • Free haircuts
  • Free dry cleaning
  • Massages parlours
  • Gyms and swimming pools
  • Hybrid car discounts
  • NASA technology Nap Pods with integrated Bose sound systems
  • Video games, foosball, ping pong, pool
  • On-site physicians
  • Large benefits for your family when you die (the oldest Googler is 83 years old!)

Human Resources is a science at Google. They’re constantly testing to find ways to optimise their employees, both in terms of happiness and performance. Obviously, all these perks come at a cost for Google. But so does employee dissatisfaction. These culture tactics have paid off for Google, as the company consistently ranks among the best places to work.

However, such a work ethic doesn’t suit everybody. There have been some reports of strong dissatisfaction from ex-employees:

"The worst part of working at Google, for many people, is that they're overqualified for their job. Google has a very high hiring bar due to the strength of the brand name, the pay & perks, and the very positive work culture. As a result, they have their pick of bright candidates, even for the most low-level roles."

"There is not enough focus on product and visual design. This has led to many aborted/semi-successful products, like Wave, Google Video, Buzz, Dodgeball, Orkut, Knol, and Friend Connect.  There is probably too much focus on pure engineering."

"It's like never-never land - people never grow up.  They drink at all hours, socialize constantly, play games, and do little to no work."

"The killer to me was the inability to work remotely, which I have been doing successfully for the past 5-6 years."

"As someone who has worked for a temp job working for Google, the worst part is the smug attitude of those who work for the REAL Google. They seem to think that anyone who isn't working for the actual Google like they are somehow mentally and morally inferior."

If businesses want to attract today’s top talent they’ll need to focus on making a great working culture. This includes the work atmosphere, to the work done, to employee freedom.

Google doesn’t view their culture as set in stone. They’re constantly changing and maintaining it, because it’s crucial to their success. With any business, it all starts with people. And if you want to run great business, you need great people. One way to get them there and keep them is through making their work fun.

Now then, what’s NASA’s number? I want a sleep pod.

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