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Google: A Culture of Minimalism That Speaks Volumes

December 15, 2015

Much like its blank search page, bearing only a logo and search box, Google’s culture is direct and to the point. Based on the mission statement—to organize the world’s information and to make it universally accessible and useful—its culture is about minimizing distractions, personal and otherwise, so that employees remain focused and committed.

Observe their Googleplex in California, which treats employees to free gourmet food, including sushi and espresso. They also have access to fitness centers, shower facilities, video games, on-site child care, and doctors. Going above and beyond is nothing new for Google. They even provide four months of paternal leave at 75% of full pay, while offering $500 for take-out meals to families with a newborn. The aim: to keep employee focus on Google.

Google is also all about simplifying complexity. Accordingly, decisions are processed in teams—within which employees use rational persuasion and data to influence each other. Carrying this cultural trait further, all processes are aligned in a system, including risk-taking and innovation. This allows them to act quickly and react responsively even while accepting costly mistakes—a natural consequence of working on the cutting edge.

This willingness to absorb the cost of innovation can be found throughout its business. For instance, in order to promote new ideas from within, it encourages all of its engineers to spend 20% of their time actually working on new ideas—time that might appear wasteful on the balance sheet, but which can offer dividends in maintaining competitive advantage. Such a strategy is particularly crucial as the tech innovator addresses the challenge of expanding its business beyond its core Web search engine business.