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What They Do
Provide web-based avenues for people to find, use and save information via search, cloud storage, software, and online advertisements.
Headquarters: Mountain View, California
What Makes Google, Inc. Great
Google is not the only Silicon Valley business that tries to do well by doing good, but it was one of the first Internet companies to follow that path.
Fifteen years after the company's founding, almost all (97 percent) of employees feel good about how Google gives back to the community, and the same number say management is honest and ethical.
The company is heavily involved in projects that advance communications technology around the world, another point of pride for employees. "We think about what's right for the broader world," one employee says. Through Google Reach, for instance, the company sends a small group of Googlers to an evolving area to help local organizations and small businesses address development challenges. In 2013, 47 Googlers traveled to Ghana and Delhi, India.
The company's Donations for Doers program encourages volunteerism by donating $50 for every five hours a Googler volunteers with an approved nonprofit. As part of a separate initiative, in 2012, Google gave more than $100 million in grants and $1 billion in free and discounted ads, apps and products to nonprofits around the world.
"Google is one of the most visible Internet companies in the world; our name is immediately recognized, and almost universally loved. This contributes to making me feel important, admired, etc.: some of Google's glory reflects on me," one employee says. "Conversely, I have a sense of duty to try to do big, important things rather than just turn a profit. That feels great, even if what I can actually *do* on a day to day basis is more about bug fixing."
Googlers, as they're called, say they're proud to tell others where they work. That's not surprising, as the tech giant has an expansive reach. Long gone are the days when Google was just a search engine provider; today, the $46 billion company owns Motorola Mobility, and YouTube, and the Android operating system.
Nowadays Google has about 26,000 employees in the US and 40,000 worldwide. As Google has rapidly grown and evolved, it's retained a strong sense of personality and a commitment to innovation in the process. "Where else can you launch balloons over New Zealand to deliver Internet access, define the future of online advertising and change the way people use their mobile phones, while working with some of the brightest minds in the world?" one Googler says. "Google is one of a kind."
Not only do Googlers take tremendous pride in their work, but 99 percent say they enjoy special and unique benefits. In its efforts to attract and retain top talent, Google's famous employee-friendly perks include onsite cafes, dry cleaners, bowling alleys and nap pods, all designed to encourage collaboration and help Googlers working around the clock.
Some of these perks were featured in the 2013 movie The Internship starring Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, who visited the company as part of researching their roles. One Googler says the perks "maximize working hours whilst balancing personal commitments." Another says, "The free food is amazing. Some days I eat prime rib for lunch, others it's giant prawns. I eat three meals a day here because it can't be beat."
While Google's on campus perks and millionaire-breeding capacities get plenty of outward attention, employees themselves are just as likely to talk about the benefits they reap by working with smart people in a well-run organization. Googlers nearly uniformly praise the competence of their leadership, the support they receive as professionals, and the pride they take in the challenging work they accomplish together. "Simply by being here, I feel very naturally motivated to be (and also very proud to be) my best possible self," explains one employee.
Expansion and Compensation
Google has grown tenfold in less than a decade, and given the scale of that expansion, some growing pains are inevitable. "The company can feel big," one Googler observes. "We work to hang onto the entrepreneurial spirit and the small company feel. For a big company, I believe we do a miraculous job at this, but I would restore the small team feel." Another employee says, "Sometimes things feel political or bureaucratic - to be expected in a company that's grown as fast as we have."
While pay is a common concern for companies of all sizes, Google has several programs in place to ensure its employees' compensation remains competitive within the tech industry, and as a result 95 percent of Google employees feel they are paid fairly for their hard work. The company reviews Googlers' base pay annually during a formal merit increase process, and considers candidates for promotions twice each year. Depending on their jobs, Googlers are eligible for a sales bonus or an annual pay-for performance bonus calculated by measuring an employee's results against his or her objectives.
"The benefits at Google are second-to-none," one Googler says. "But just as importantly, I feel like people are smarter and more motivated here than any other place I've worked at."
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