By Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association
Innovation Mission attendees are visiting Google’s world headquarters today in Sunnyvale, Ca. In addition to the many media partnership opportunities, attendees also wanted to learn about the tremendous culture of innovation that exists. Chris Connelly from Google’s “People Operations” provided an inspiring session to open the day.
When the company went public in 2004, Google’s founder proclaimed “We are not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one." The company grew from 3,000 to 33,000 employees since that time and they have been successful at maintaining an enviable culture that is based on freedom, teamwork and idea sharing.
* They hire people that are good at many things.
* They want people that are comfortable with a fast work environment. Sense of speed is very important.
* The hiring process is designed to remove subjectivity. They try to hire not purely based on need.
* The hiring process is the same for every single position and includes interviews by committee.
* They look for “googliness” in people – people that communicate well; work well with others; are humble.
* Hiring is not needs based; it’s more about the fit. The hiring process builds an inherent trust because everyone goes through the same process – from the highest levels to the lowest levels.This creates buy-in and a sense of community among all employees.
* “Ideas come from everywhere” – it doesn’t matter what your position is. There are white boards all over the company to facilitate the brainstorming and thinking/idea process.
* Very few people have their own offices at Google. Even executives share space – this encourages idea sharing. Lunch is often spent with other people from other offices sharing ideas.
* They have a very robust employee intranet. They use their own products, they test their own products, etc. They have thousands of internal listservs for their employees to talk about a wide variety of subjects (business and personal). They use Google+ internally.
* They live by the phrase: “Don’t ask for permission; ask for forgiveness.”
* They conduct a weekly meeting called TGIF at 4:30 PM each Friday with senior executives (including the CEO). The last 30 minutes is a live Q&A.
* “If you give people freedom, they will amaze you” – this is what makes the company work.
* 20% time: if you have an idea that is good for Google – you should be able to work on that idea up to 20% of your time. Gmail was a 20% project. So was a project that allowed people affected by an earthquake to find each other and their loved ones. This led to a disaster relief team.
* G to G program allows Googlers to teach classes (business or personal) to other Googlers during work time. It is very successful.
Stay tuned for more updates on the Google visit.