In the News, Reviews

Google Hits Reset on Company Culture

What?!? No more Google Dance?!? Afraid so Googlers.

On Wednesday, Peter Kafka with AllThingsDigital wrote about the Google press conference in which CEO Eric Schmidt and co-founder Sergey Brin candidly discussed the next wave in Google culture as they learn from the recession and continue their commitment to innovate. Schmidt, who currently garners an 87% approval rating and 3% disapproval rating, said “you ought to be happy to work at Google…because it’s Google.” But as reported late last month when we compared Google with Yahoo, Schmidt’s approval rating has declined slightly in recent months.

Google Reviews – Glassdoor Review

However, is Schmidt’s claim true? Is working at Google enough to keep employees satisfied with their work? As of right now – with national unemployment at 9.8% – probably. Even more so given the fact that only 16% of those who have interviewed at Google have received an offer according to Glassdoor interview reviews. But when the economy recovers it will be interesting to see if  all this will change; according to the recent Glassdoor  confidence survey, one quarter of 18-44 year olds expect to look for a new job  at that time.

Google employees give the company a 4.0 (satisfied) rating which is something to be proud of – it means employees generally like the company, like the leadership, and like their jobs. Plus, the Glassdoor analytics team evaluated Google company reviews to determine if employees showed any growing concern over cutbacks in perks (food), worries of increasing bureaucracy, or perhaps more layoffs, but it seems rather that employees are humming along. In fact, nearly a third (31%) of employees talk about the perks and more than one out of  ten employees (13%) talk about Google’ s innovation.

Although, you can find some less than favorable feedback about Google from employees…

Google has become very hierarchical, political, and bureaucratic. Over the years, management has distanced itself from its employees and become more and more arrogant. – Sales (Location n/a)

Getting big and bureaucratic (e.g., launch process long and painful) – Senior Software Engineer (Mountain View, CA)

They also point out opportunities for improvement like:

Diversify into more areas besides the “core” area of search. Google has so much cash — use it.. For example, consumer devices.. phones, video games, set-top boxes, etc. – SWE III (Mountain View, CA)


I think management would do well to learn to have fewer meetings, and focus on working more. Management focuses too much on the future plans and creating processes and does not tend to the processes that are already in place. – Technical Support Analyst (Thornton, CO)


Focus more on enabling innovation to happen, and planning career paths for your employees. – Product Manager (Mountain View, CA)

To keep employees satisfied, as a prior comment points out, management may want to explore the area employees report lowest satisfaction: career opportunities with a 3.3 (neutral) rating. One employee reports that times are changing for all and opportunities for professional growth remain within product development:

A few years ago during the internet boom we all received fat raises so our salaries would keep pace with the booming Silicon Valley. Well, those days are over, and look how well most of those start-ups with their extravagant compensation packages did. You want a fatter paycheck? Create some revolutionary product that raises profits: your paycheck is tied to Google’s bottom line. – Accountant (Location n/a)

Do you work at Google? Did you?  What do you think? Is this just part of moving from start up in a garage to life as a start up to life as 20,000-employee company.