Google's Golden Rules

Many of you will have already read about the Google’s “20 percent time” that allows its engineers to explore their own projects and ideas - a particular fruitful policy that has resulted in such products as Google News.

Now, in a Newsweek article, Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Hal Varian have given a further insight into other policies used by the search engine to get the best out of its knowledge workers.

Given the increasingly cut throat nature of the global economy, getting the best out of knowledge workers will be the key to any company’s continued competitiveness, so its interesting to read ten golden rules put forward by Schmidt for dealing with knowledge workers

According to Schmidt, Google looks to strip away anything that gets in its employee’s way, hence a Google engineer can expect to find “first-class dining facilities, gyms, laundry rooms, massage rooms, haircuts, carwashes, dry cleaning, commuting buses—just about anything a hardworking engineer might want”. Working for an Internet company I can vouch that Google engineers do indeed have it good – although we do have a toilet and a microwave (sorry boss).

Other rules focus on communication and teamwork and , whilst not rocket science, do make eminent sense and are all too easily overlooked. Being Google, the obligatory “Don’t do evil” also makes it on the list. You can read the ten rules here.

Just as interesting, though, are what Google looks to avoid. We’ve all come across that techie who knows his stuff, but who’s arrogance is a constant irritant to colleagues. Such a person would find no place at Google, according to Schmidt.

Any firm that has the software behemoth Microsoft quaking in its boost must be doing a great deal of things right and the level of interest that surrounded a new GooglePlex in London is testament to the high esteem in which employment by Google is held.

Google’s growth has been meteoric and no doubt these policies have contributed to this success but this growth presents new challenges in itself. As the company’s size grows, keeping the teamwork and communication ethic alive becomes increasingly more difficult.

The key test, however, will come when Google’s growth does slow, as it inevitably will do as the information technology industry continues to mature. Will Google remain true to these principles or will twitchy shareholders, looking at the short term, force the search engine giant into changes?