Google CEO Eric Schmidt has a piece in Newsweek this week about their hiring practices and how they are managing a new breed of knowledge workers. Basically it talks a lot about giving employees a lot of perks to keep them focused on work and create a real team environment. The article is an interesting look at the inner workings of one of most curious IT companies in the world.
I am curious about life after Google for a lot of these employees. In my Information and Organizations class this semester, we did a project about a hypothetical dot-com that had culture issues. During conversation with the professor later, we found out it was based on a series of similar companies that she profiled during the dot-com boom and bust.
These companies were looking for zero-drag employees, people without family or social life that would distract them. Then they created a fun atmosphere that made employees excited to come to work. For most, co-workers were the only real friends they had. After the bust, many felt dissatisfied in their lives, whether they went back to school or went to a more traditional IT company. Most felt none of these experiences matched the importance of their work with the failed dot-com.
I asked the professor what she thought of Google’s culture. She said that she would have had us do the project on Google if she thought we could pull it off. Google has done many of the same things as these dot-coms, the biggest difference is that Google is a lot more successful. It will be interesting to see what becomes of Google in the future as it grows and faces more competition.