Can Google’s Laid-Back Culture Work in Other Industries?


Google’s company culture has become famous – so famous, in fact, that Hollywood even made a movie around it called The Internship starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. The Googleplex is almost as well known as the search engine itself, boasting a gourmet cafeteria, open floor plans, volleyball courts, nap pods, onsite fitness center, employee shuttle service, free bicycles and more.

As a result, many Miami companies have attempted to replicate Google’s culture as their own, in the hopes that a hip, laid-back attitude will help them attract and retain top talent. But will Google’s technology culture work in other industries?

The Potential Folly of Copying Google

Many companies have attempted to replicate Google’s culture, and they have been met with mixed results. Why is it so hard to replicate? Most companies pick and choose the aspects of the culture they are most comfortable with. It may be outdoor space, healthy food options, or a relaxed dress code and open floor plan. They may read about Google’s unique interview process and toss some brain-teaser questions into the mix. Or they try to hire younger managers with an egalitarian approach to leading.

Google’s culture wasn’t an accident. They developed their employee engagement programs through – what else – a process of analytics. A “people analytics” team was created to collect and analyze data and to determine what makes their employees happy today and what will make them happy in the future. It wasn’t a one-and-done process, either. It continues to this day, as employee preferences and values are always shifting.

The data is used to develop company programs that promote employee engagement. That means that Google’s culture works for Google for two important reasons. First, the company knows itself, its values, and its personality. Second, the company took the time to get to know its employees.

Should You Copy Google?

The question of whether or not Google’s culture can work for your company isn’t a simple “yes or no” answer. Your company culture should reflect your organizational values. A better approach than simply copying Google’s volleyball courts, free bicycles and nap pods is to copy their approach to meeting their employees’ needs within the framework of your unique corporate values and vision. Giving your team what they are looking for in a workplace isn’t as hard as it may sound, but it takes a commitment to learning your team inside and out.

While it may be tempting to copy Google in an effort to attract talent, it’s best to just be yourself. Know why your best employees work for you and why they stay, and then use that data to help you attract talented employees who not only have the skills you are looking for, but who will match up with your company culture.

If your Miami organization is looking for strategic ways to develop hiring and retention programs based on your company culture, CERS can help. We can help you attract and retain highly skilled IT talent that meets both your technical and your cultural needs.  If you would like more information on how CERS can help you capitalize on your corporate culture, contact us today.

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