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Innovation from Google’s Free Food Strategy

Innovation from Google’s Free Food Strategy

Introduction

Google is a technology enterprise headquartered in Mountain View, California. It commenced its operations as Internet search engine and has developed into a technology giant within a relatively short time offering diverse services and products such as computers and tablets, online advertising, cloud computing services, software, online document services and e-mail among others. Sergey Brin together with Larry Page partnered to establish Google in 1998. The company has established its operations on a global scale with offices in more than forty countries. The organizational culture (OC) at Google is considered unconventional due to its minimal oversight on employees, which has been instrumental in encouraging innovation and loyalty from its personnel. The corporate philosophy in the company also strives to create a work environment characterized with fun and minimal seriousness while, at the same time, expecting employees to be creative and inventive. This paper discusses innovations in the corporation with reference to the working environment and OC at Google.

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Google’s Mission and Business Model

Consolidating information and increasing its accessibility and importance is the mission of Google (Google Inc., 2015). The company’s mission statement spells out its vision, which focuses on making search engines stronger and intelligent. The business model of Google comprises a number of core areas including core partners, activities, and resources, channels, value proposition, relationships with customers, customer segmentation, cost structure, and revenue sources (Figure 1) (Martin, 2014b). Google’s core partners involve manufacturers of computing equipment including handsets, distributors and suppliers. The core activities undertaken by the company focus on research and development with respect to innovative technologies as well as enhancing existing technologies (Martin, 2014b). Other core activities conducted by Google include maintaining and managing information technology infrastructures, and marketing. The company’s core resources comprise of its employees, patents, servers and data centers. With respect to value proposition, Google strives to deliver value to its customers in advertising, web search and operating systems (Martin, 2014b). The customer segment of Google comprises of users, advertising agencies and promoters, and providers of content. Correspondingly to cost structure, the main costs incurred by the company include marketing expenses, research and development costs, people and costs on its IT infrastructure (Martin, 2014b). In terms of the revenue stream, search engine advertising is the chief source of returns contributing about 96% of the company’s revenue (Martin, 2014b).

Google's business model

Figure 1. Google’s business model.

Types of People that Work at Google

For Google to develop numerous competitive product and services, it needs effective leadership. In addition, efficient management is important for the success of the corporation owing to the fact that it hires diverse people in terms of languages and interests (Stanton & Karodia, 2014). In an open OC, leadership is pivotal in ensuring that every employee contributes towards the achievement of the company’s mission through influencing the behavior of personnel. Since Google hires individuals having diverse experiences, attributes and background, collaboration between them is only possible when there is effective leadership in the organization (Stanton & Karodia, 2014).

With regard to leadership, Google looks for people who are smart as well as team-oriented (Google Inc., 2015). An important requirement for leaders in the company is flexibility in dealing with various situations. They must also have the ability to mobilize teams (Google Inc., 2015). In addition, leaders in the company usually use transformational leadership approaches in ensuring team success. Google employees have diverse educational backgrounds including engineering, computer science, business, design and liberal arts among others (Google Inc., 2015). Before employing a candidate, the company performs a criminal background check to ensure that it hires people with no criminal records. Google emphasizes on diversity; as a result, its employees comprise of people of various racial backgrounds including whites (60%), Asians (31%), Hispanics (3%), people of mixed races (3%), and blacks (2%) (Google Inc., 2015).

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Services and Amenities Offered by Google

Google offers numerous services and amenities to its employees and interns with the ultimate goal of keeping its personnel happy (Martin, 2014a). The first service offered by the company to its employees is free food in its onsite restaurants that offer a wide choice of dishes including ribs and egg rolls among others. Personnel at Google receive free breakfast, lunch and dinner. Moreover, in between meals, employees are provided with bottled beverages and coffee from the numerous snack stations in the workplace (Martin, 2014a). Alongside the plentiful choice of food offered, Google has fitness facilities including basketball and volleyball courts, spas, swimming pools and gyms (Stabile, 2008). Another service that the company offers to its employees comprises of family-friendly options, such as onsite and backup child care services, which are an additional support aimed at enhancing work-life balance of the employees (Stabile, 2008). The family-friendly options seek to handle the child-care needs of Google’s personnel in order for them to concentrate on their work (Stabile, 2008). Other free services that the company offers are medical coverage for its employees including their immediate family members, travel insurance, laundry services, language classes, hair salons, end of week parties, onsite physicians, and commuter shuttles (Martin, 2014a).

By offering these free services and amenities, Google pursues the objective to help its employees contribute to the achievement of business goals (Martin, 2014a). The company uses these free services and amenities to increase the working hours of its personnel. For instance, offering free meals onsite eliminates the need to take a break to go out and look for lunch. Similarly, childcare needs are taken care of to allow every employee to focus on his or her work (Stabile, 2008). Essentially, Google uses these free services as a means of reducing the time wasted by employees on personal chores. When the everyday stresses of personnel are handled by the company, their concentration increases resulting in higher levels of creativity and innovation. Moreover, these free services and amenities are used as a way of influencing the behavior of employees. When Google offers the free services, its staff develops loyalty and ownership and feels loved; as a result, employees have not any reason to go to work anywhere else when Google takes care of their personal needs in a way that is incomparable to other companies (Stabile, 2008).

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Google’s Organizational Culture

Google focuses on recruiting individuals who are smart and determined. In addition, the corporation has a preference for ability to create experience, which results in a work environment that favors innovation (Stanton & Karodia, 2014). In addition to the goals and vision of the company, employees at Google embrace diversity in terms of cultural and racial background, values, age, sexual orientation, and religious affiliation. The company strives to develop an open culture that is synonymous with startups, whereby employees have the opportunity to make meaningful contributions and share their ideas and views with others. To this end, Google conducts weekly meetings whereby personnel are allowed to express any issues to the top management. In addition, the work environment in the company is designed in such a way that it fosters collaboration and interaction between employees and across teams (Stanton & Karodia, 2014).

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In my opinion, working at Google appears attractive and would undoubtedly help any person seeking to achieve creativity. I consider this work environment ideal; thus, I would definitely work for this company when presented with such opportunity. The services and amenities that Google offers ensure that emotional, physical, financial and social needs of employees are taken care of well. The company also encourages its personnel to pursue their interests, which is an important aspect for fostering individual creativity.

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Conclusion

Google offers numerous free services and amenities to take care of the needs of its personnel. This fosters a sense of loyalty among employees and allows them to concentrate on their projects. In addition, the freedom that they have in the company makes Google a great work environment for individuals to achieve high levels of creativity. The cultural collaboration is an important aspect of Google OC that contributes to its success. Having team-oriented and flexible leaders also helps to foster this collaborative culture.

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