10 Things We Can Learn from Google’s Company Culture

While most companies’ cultures are a bit of a bore, Google has revolutionized its own company workplace. From nap pods to free coffee, Google workplace culture is as innovative as it is quirky. Here are 10 things we can learn from Google’s company culture:

1. The Right People Lend to the Right Culture

At Google, they’ve learned that the right people create the right culture. That’s why Google’s hiring process is just as unique as everything else about the company; rather than just focusing on an applicant’s job experience, potential team members are asked an array of odd questions, like “How many golf balls can fit into a school bus?”

2. Community Seating Areas Inspire Conversation

While there are of course private workspaces at Google, there’s also a big focus on community. As such, lunch tables are long and picnic style, encouraging everyone to meet someone new. Meeting new people and talking to others is a fantastic way to promote a healthy work environment, and encourage new ideas.

3. Good Benefits Retain Good Employees 

One of the most desirable things about working at Google is that its company culture focuses highly on great employee benefits. For example, maternity leave use to only be 12 weeks for new mothers; it’s now been changed to five months.

4. Creativity is Key

Google understands that the key behind a great product, idea, or strategy is creativity. As such, employees are encouraged to think outside of the box, and brainstorming sessions are often held at diners rather than in conference rooms. What’s more, rooms within Google have been made to resemble areas ranging from a sidewalk café in Istanbul to a pub in Dublin.

5. Nice Words Make a Difference

HR Reps, managers, and other team leaders at Google are encouraged to say a few nice words to new employees. Lazlo Bock, who is the head of HR (or People Operations at Google), says that a nice greeting from a manger to a new employee leads to a 15 percent increase in productivity over nine months.

6. Empowerment Works

A unique thing about Google’s company culture is that its employees feel empowered. Not only do they feel valued, but they also have a sense of purpose attached to their work. Google has achieved this by empowering its employees through a more hands-off management style, and allowing employees to make important decisions.

7. Failing Isn’t Failure

Another unordinary thing about Google is this: when employees make mistakes, or “fail,” the error isn’t regarded as a failure. Instead, mistakes are thought of as important learning opportunities that can be used to reach success.

8. Health is Important

The health of Google’s employees is important to the company. Google makes sure that its meals are color-coded in accordance with health values. Employees can also walk on treadmills while working, or visit a nap pod to get in some shuteye.

9. The Workplace Should Stimulate

Google’s offices are designed in a rare way; offices are set up to encourage employees to run into one another to stimulate conversation, rooms are designed differently, and different floors are even different colors to encourage exploration.

10. A Little Freedom Goes a Long Way 

Finally, Google has realized that giving its employees a little freedom goes a long way. Employees can eat when they choose, workout when they want, or take a nap if they feel tired. Getting vacation time isn’t a problem, and if an employee has an idea, they’re often encouraged to pursue it.

Want to read more? Check out my post on Apple's company culture.