Google - Google is still a great place to work | Glassdoor
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"Google is still a great place to work"

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  • Work/Life Balance
  • Career Opportunities
  • Comp & Benefits
  • Senior Management
Current Employee - Account Executive in New York, NY
Current Employee - Account Executive in New York, NY
Recommends
Approves of CEO

Pros

The people.
Internal opportunities to advance.
Flexibility.

Cons

Growing pains as a result of rapid growth & acquisition!

Advice to Management

Be more transparent.

Other Employee Reviews for Google

  1. Helpful (12)

    "The very best reason to work at Google can be summed up in one word: culture."

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    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Technical Writer in Mountain View, CA
    Current Employee - Technical Writer in Mountain View, CA
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    The very best reason to work at Google can be summed up in one word: culture. Since that is a rather vague term, let me elaborate. Google has established and continues to nurture a culture that fosters, high levels of both work satisfaction and contribution from its employees. It does this by recognizing the potential in all employees via established work policies, rather than just through lip service, like many companies. Following are some concrete examples of this:

    Promotion and work performances is entirely reliant on peer reviews. In other words, to get ahead at Google and to get a positive performance review, you must get positive reviews from your fellow co-workers. Your manager might love you, but if your co-workers don't like you, you have some work to do. Managers are also required to seek peer review from those they manage. (I have never seen this before in my career.) Senior level employees from other fields are also encouraged to seek peer reviews from people in other departments. For example, engineers need reviews from people other than engineers in order to advance. For this reason, a culture of cooperation is endemic at Google. This is great because the percentage of "cowboys" that seems common at other high tech companies is quite low at Google. It also fosters an awareness of the type of contribution made by people outside your department, since everyone reviews people in other fields, and therefore must learn a bit about what others do outside their sphere.

    Career tracks fall into either management or individual contributor. This is great for people who might want to try management but later decide that they perform best as an individual contributor, or who just want to take a break from management for a while. In addition, it's not too difficult to switch between tracks. Finally, managers and team leads are also encouraged to solicit leadership-level contribution from the reportees, as a way to encourage career growth and to share the load, so to speak. This whole mechanism results in a very strong sense of independence and high-level of function from everyone, because if there is a problem that you think should be fixed, you can fix it and get genuine recognition for it, both from peers and managers.

    You are required to keep a work log, as a means for you to accurately report on your contributions and as a source for your own assessment and of others' assessment of you. In addition, there are other assessment tools that are big part of Google work life, designed to keep you mindful of your work contribution and to help you and others write performance reviews. This sort of sounds tough, but the end result is that you can work to your best and not have to worry about mis-perceptions of your performance: you've written it down. Additionally, if you are spending a LOT of time working on tasks not related to your main project, your log is a way for you to work with your manager in order to change unnecessary demands on your time. I would say that this practice exemplifies one portion of the transparency that is so pervasive at Google.

    Ideas and contributions from employees are highly encouraged. This results in some great products for the company, like AdWords, which was an idea from an early Google engineer, and Gmail, which was a 20% project. Googlers also gain a lot of company and community recognition for extra efforts/contributions that they feel passionate about, and this only adds to the environment for everyone. As another example, some employees at Google Mountain View worked hard to create alternative means of fresh drinking water for employees, rather than having the company stock water bottles (which contribute tremendously to landfill waste). This was a big effort. Now we have filtered water stations all over the place--it's not directly tied to "search" but it contributed to the company mission to "do no evil" and it added to the green image of the company.

    I could go on and on about culture at Google, and I've only scratched the surface, but hopefullly this conveys a sense of what I mean by "culture" at Google and how important this element is to a great working environment.

    Cons

    From my four years of working at Google, I've seen the following downsides:

    * In sales, management level employees tended to be hired from MBA programs rather than be promoted from within. I was not personally affected by this practice, but I witnessed the demoralizing effect this had on a good number of very high performers who would have benefitted from a performance-education program so that their level of effort and seniority would have been recognized. In addition, as is almost always the case from hiring outside management, there was a great deal of frustration from employees because the manager was completely unfamiliar with the culture and process at Google, and this resulted in a feeling of being managed by someone who learned management at Harvard or Yale.

    * Google "over-hires" people. By this, I mean that Google regularly staffs highly-qualified people in positions that are not suited to their level of education. So, for example, you would see software engineers being hired by support. That's just stupid. I appreciate the high standards that Google has for its employees, but I genuinely think they tend to over-correct in that regard, and this results in people not really being suited for the position into which they are hired. Sometimes it's possible for such people to migrate to other positions within the company to which they are better suited, but often this results in a level of frustration... mostly in this case people find work elsewhere, but in the mean time, this very necessary position must be filled by another hire, which then must also be trained. Not efficient, and not effective. Google also tends to focus hiring assessment on academic scores, which is entirely appropriate for new grads, but they do this even for people with multiple years in the field. That's just silly, and it actually does run contrary to the whole performance process within the company itself, where effort and accomplishments are recognized. Thus, it makes no sense to disregard this type of assessment for new hires whose professional contribution can far outweigh their academic performance by many years.

    * Google encourages employee contribution to so many different projects that it is difficult for someone to get "deep" into a particular project and focus entirely on that effort. In this, I am speaking from my own personal experience. I feel that volume of contribution is valued at times over quality or depth of contribution. There is a sort of "check list" mentality where, the more bullet items you can point to, the more you are seen as a strong contributor. I think there should be more attention paid to contribution to items that are complex in nature and require more focused attention. for me, it's just frustrating, because I cannot live up to my own level of quality in my main project because of other demands from other projects.

    Advice to Management

    See my three downsides: look to hire from within, recognize significant career experience from new hires over academic, and consider the need for "focus" on particular projects.


  2. "Work with some smartest ppl in IT"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Mountain View, CA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Mountain View, CA
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    work with smart people in IT

    Cons

    no rewards to people acutally get the work done

    Advice to Management

    get rid of some over-layers management

There are newer employer reviews for Google
There are newer employer reviews for Google

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