“Akash! You can come in T-shirt, shorts & slippers to do your talk at Google” – the words of Manish (My host at Google) relieved me; as I had exhausted wearing all my formal clothes during my back to back, daily corporate events & trainings in the last 7 days.
Sigh! – my first reaction. Immediately my next reaction was:- “Really ??” Or is this some dude trying to act super cool.
Google had opted to get done out of me; not a stress management, not a Team building, not a Sales Training but an Event on ‘Relationships’ titled ‘Lovepal Bill’. I wonder how many Corporates in India would have the guts to have this done. Google rightly did; knowing the average age of its team.
I thought I was a much travelled guy who has seen & spoken at good number of Corporates & it is very less likely that now after all these years something would surprise me. My belief got shattered. I was not only pleasantly surprised, totally impressed but was simply overwhelmed during my 6 hour stay at Google Hyderabad.
At the Google reception – 4 bright, yuppie, lively Googlers greeted me in way that I forgot for a second that I am not meeting my college buddies.
I thought I was Cool. But suddenly I was feeling like I was in Antarctica.
Rakesh (I knew him from his St Xaviers Kolkata days) took me for lunch & told ‘Akash! Cafes here serve different cuisines and hey, food has colour labels for calories – Low, medium & high’. Which would you like? I got confused, smiled & said- ‘Khuch bhi chalega’.
As we walked through floors, I found that GOOGLE HQ in India is just not an office but an ‘Extended college campus’. Everyone (Yes , everyone) carrying Macs, Nexus phones (Google’s holiday gift), people sleeping, people dancing, people cooking, people working, people carrying their pastas to workstations & lots more.
Normally in the post Corporate Event time at many organizations- employees come & crib about their bosses, office culture, life etc etc. Here was a place where everyone I spoke with was gung ho about his work brand & sounded so exuberant and thankful to Google for making his / her life so much full of joy, abundance & fun. I told them – ‘You are no good to work anywhere else after Google’. Google has spoilt you richly, beautifully & creatively.
All organizations are different & good in their own ways and cultures. However, they must pick up the best from each other to come better. Here are my 5 learnings from the work place culture at Google which I will so want the other Corporates, employees and youngsters to have a look at:-
1. Space (Physical, Mental, Emotional): Google gives the employees their space. You can find people sitting under a desk, working away inside Google’s Bollywood-ized car, learning in a huddle room… or possibly even napping at the bunkers. So much physical space translates to mental freedom and emotional flexibility.
2. Work Culture: The culture is that of chaotic order and self-goverance. For eg: Google dress code is two words, “wear something”. Not rules, but principles. Makes for unfettered minds.
3. Feedback and Appreciation: Googlers take and actively pursue feedback very seriously. You improve only when you think you can do better, and when you find out how you can. And when a job is well done, Google calls it out and how! Bonuses, appreciation mails.
4. Accessibility and transparency: Whether it is Larry Page or the latest Noogler (New Googlers), everyone at Google is accessible and only a ping away. Same goes for transparency. While Googlers are highly protective about company secrets and innovation from outsiders, the company by itself prides itself on transperancy across levels and boards. This level of transparency, automatically brings about accountability and sets into motion the Feedback loop too.
5. Innovation: Think 10x is Google’s Mantra. Should be yours too. They innovate even in the most simplest of the things. Look at the testimonial they gave me! (Below)
Normally post my corporate talks & trainings ; I feel like this in my mind – ‘I came, I saw, I conquered’.
This time it was different- ‘I came, I saw, I got conquered & Googled forever’.