What makes Google India’s best company to work for

26 Jun,2013


By Devina Sengupta


Two years ago, the 21-year-old Zihan Ahmed made a mistake. The college graduate wore formals for an internship interview with Google India and the interviewer commented, “You can be serious without wearing a suit”. A year later, Ahmed went for his campus placement interview with Google, in shorts.


Today, based out of the search engine’s Hyderabad office as an associate in the market sales team for small and medium business, Mr Ahmed realises his first job is virtually a dream job for others. His company wants him to pass the ‘airport test’ and not just be another keyboard punching machine desperate to stay ahead of the competition and peers.


The airport test, which all employees must pass at Google, is to make sure that if they are stuck in an airport and someone strikes up a conversation, the Googler must have something interesting to talk about to a complete stranger. “Every Googler has a hobby,” says Mr Ahmed, “and that is what keeps us from being mediocre”. He is a polo player and a show jumper and heads out with his horse thrice a week at 6 pm, knowing that employees in most companies are wistfully staring at their watches.


The internet search company that is heavily betting on mobile internet usage, online video growth and small and medium businesses, has strict abhorrence towards those who look upon hierarchy as a sign of success, work in silos and are complacent.”


Life is awesome at Google, says Rajan Anandan

At Google India, Rajan Anandan is on a roller-coaster high that does not have any dips. But in his firm, the don’ts are more clearly defined than the do’s. For the India head, silo worship, long drawn-out meetings and hierarchy are strictly off-limits at Google. And as for the dos, the Googlers have to just think 100-fold bigger and the rest will just fall in line.


How has your journey at Google been?

Overall, the two-and-a-half years at Google have been fantastic. The company values speed and entrepreneurship. There have been so many highs, like getting India business online and women on the web entrepreneurship. I got the opportunity to work with some incredibly smart people and have enjoyed this journey. Our business is more intense than others and I see myself with Google for a long time.


What has been your greatest achievement at Google?

It has been all team achievement and not mine alone. Accelerating adoption of internet, mobile users, especially with smartphones becoming affordable, adoption of online video. And the market impact has been tremendous. Today, internet user base in India is 100 million and there are 90 million mobile internet users with a 150% year-on-year growth potential.


What is the Google way of doing things?

Building teams and hiring the best. In Google, teams do not need to be told as micro-management is a disaster in this office. So we question every assumption of doing business as we have a saying that lets us take it up by 10x, and not just 10%.


Is there any company (not Google) whose model of working you want to adopt?

Not just one company, as every company has a distinctive way of working. I have brought with me some aspects of Dell and Mckinsey where I have worked before and others have done the same. There is no one company whose model we want to adopt.


Is there anything in Google that you would want to improve?

At Google, we are extremely self-critical and always looking at how to do things better. So, instead of 10x, I would want one to think in terms of 100x, make it bigger.


What not to do at Google?

Thinking small, incremental, being hierarchical and uncollaborative. Also, being in meetings all the time and not working. Meetings are a death of speed and as a leader if you do not get things done, the team will stop respecting you.


Your roadmap for Google?

The internet will continue to grow and cross 200 million at the end of this year. Mobile internet is growing and Android has enabled India to have internet on their phones for Rs 6,000-7,000. Online video is a big strategy and even small and medium business empowerment is important. We have a great team and a year from now my priorities should remain similar, or something has really gone wrong.


If not Google, then what would you have been doing?

I am here for a long time. As of now, life is awesome.


Source:The Economic Times

Copyright © 2013, Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All Rights Reserved

Licensed to republish


We are extremely self critical. At Google, we say things should improve 10x times and not by 10%, I would say why 10x and not 100x. It is a bad idea to think small in this company,” says Rajan Anandan, India head for the firm.


And 31-year-old Parul Sharma says this trait of going beyond KRAs is integral for the company. She is the manager of online sales team and has worked with North American markets for projects on mobile shopping that was not related to her work at all. “It was not related to my performance and that does not matter .There is no career ladder here and it is more of a jungle gym,” says the Gurgaon-based manager. The company ensures that every decision percolates and teams have biweekly meetings where every decision taken by the CEO is aligned to their tasks. Employees have access to products that are yet to be launched so that they can test and give feedback, a sign of faith in its people- a system called ‘dogfooding’.


But true to Google tradition, even meetings cannot stretch as it may hinder productivity. “Meetings are a death of speed. At Google, if you are in meetings and do not work, then they will not respect you,” says Mr Anandan. His meetings are for 15-20 minutes at the most except for the one-hour Monday morning one. The firm has developed ‘bureaucracy busters’, program where a Google employee can suggest ways of slashing red tape within the firm.


But the workplace is not about beanbags and lava lamps. An employee will have to preempt what his peers are doing and stay a step ahead, says Meggha Bajaj Kapur. The 34-year-old manager for advertisement operations joined the company in 2007 and realised immediately that innovative ideas are dime-a-dozen here. “If there is a discussion on career development initiatives, then all team members will have innovative ideas and then some more,” says the Gurgaon-based employee. She realised her resume showed the right company when she was promoted on her ninth month of pregnancy.


She was about to take a 5-month maternity leave and did not expect to climb the next rung as most workplaces would shy away from promoting a soon to be mother, but Google did not. Her ‘magic moment’ with the firm appeared when she received a personalized gift hamper from the company, and not just her team, upon childbirth.


Faced with manageable attrition, according to Head of People Operations-Sales, Sharad Goyal, data and analytical minds rule over intuition in this workplace. And importance given to the India office is at an all-time high.


Google India has developed ‘India Get Your Business Online’, a programme to offer free websites, domain and hosting services to small and medium businesses in India. So employees quit only to start their own business. As an employee commented, “Where else can you just drop a mail to the manager with only a subject line stating ‘WFH-EOM’ and manager replies ‘Cool, Tcre’?” The attitude may be informal but the care quotient evidently puts Google at the top of the heap.


Source:The Economic Times

Copyright © 2013, Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All Rights Reserved

Licensed to republish


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