A Killer Culture Keeps Google Vital

A Killer Culture Keeps Google Vital

12 days of great rated Yes, Google has killer perks—like nap pods, on-site physicians, free legal advice and free food. But these flashy benefits are less important to the tech company’s success as a talent magnet and in the marketplace than the underlying culture of the place.

CEO Larry Page and other Google leaders have created a powerhouse workplace by blending make-the-world-better aims, exciting technological challenges, high expectations of people and a sense of family at work.

Employees, in turn, have bought into Google’s compelling vision, feel cared for personally and professionally and are happy to give 100 percent or more.

Trust Index© survey of Google employees" href="" target="_blank">Our Trust Index© survey of Google employees found that a striking 94 percent say they get the training they need to further themselves professionally. Eighty-five percent feel their leaders show a sincere interest in them as a person, not just an employee. Ninety-six percent are proud to tell others they work at the company. And 96 percent of Googlers report that “people here are willing to give extra to get the job done.”

Says one employee: "Working here can make you feel that you've made it into the technical equivalent of Major League Baseball or the NFL - you're at the top of your field."

Employee comments like that, along with sky-high survey scores and practices that build a culture of trust are why Google has been the reigning #1 organization for the last three consecutive years on the "100 Best Companies to Work For in America" list we generate for FORTUNE. Great Rated! and also have recognized the company as a Great Workplace in Technology and as a Great Workplace for Millennials.

It’s not a coincidence that Larry Page was just honored by FORTUNE as Businessperson of the Year. Page has outlined stirring goals for the company such as producing cleaner energy via high-altitude wind turbines, increasing Internet bandwidth through stratospheric balloons and improving health through ingestible nanoparticles—all in addition to maintaining a leadership position in Internet search, mobile devices and social media.

Page sets a tone of demanding but kind leadership. Google researcher Andy Conrad said this to FORTUNE about discussing ideas with Page: “You feel terrified, inspired, and nurtured at the same time.”

Here’s Page himself on Google’s culture: “It’s important that the company be a family, that people feel that they’re part of the company, and that the company is like a family to them. When you treat people that way, you get better productivity.”

The company is very conscious of the value of its culture in attracting top candidates and advancing the Google way. The “Life at Google” section of the firm’s careers site prominently mentions earning the top spot on the 2014 FORTUNE list as validation of its workplace.

But Google isn’t just about trumpeting accolades to candidates—it also wants to inform them. Google has one of the country’s most visible employer brands – but potential employees and Google itself still want to make sure that the culture is a match for new hires, so communicating the specifics of what their culture is like – beyond the perks – is critical to accessing the right talent

When prospective Google employees click on Google’s “100 Best” award, they have the chance not only to see Google’s ranking on FORTUNE’s site, but also to drill down into the details of what Google’s employees say about what they value most at the company, via Google’s Great Rated! review

That review talks some about funky and generous benefits at Google. But it’s mostly about the deeper workplace spirit that has helped make Google a world-changing company. In others words, it’s not about killer perks. It’s a killer culture that keeps Google vital.


Eager to show off what makes your workplace great? Register here for a free, interactive webinar with Great Rated! CEO Kim Peters and Great Place To Work’s Chris Culkin sharing best practices examples of how employers are promoting their Great Rated! reviews.

Ed Frauenheim