Google Shares The Love

After considering this New York Times report on Google’s corporate culture, it certainly makes me wonder why we settle for so much less in the ad biz.

Google, like I.B.M., says that it is forging a corporate culture in which success depends on performance.
But while I.B.M. is an old company that has revamped the social contract with its workers, Google is writing a new one from scratch.
Some of Google’s benefit and compensation practices resemble I.B.M.’s. The retirement plan is a tax-deferred 401(k) program with employee savings matched by company contributions, as it is for new employees at I.B.M. starting this year. Annual bonuses at Google range up to 25 or 30 percent, as they do at I.B.M.
Yet Google portrays itself as a special place, starting with its company motto, “Don’t Be Evil.” And its programs and perks for employees are unusual, even by the often-generous standards of young Silicon Valley companies in good times.
Meals of all kinds, painstakingly prepared by company chefs, are free at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., a modern corporate campus known as the Googleplex. Other amenities there include children’s day care, doctors, dry cleaning, laundry, a gym, and basketball and volleyball courts. Maternity or paternity leave is 12 weeks at 75 percent of full pay. There is also up to $500 available for takeout meals for the entire family after a newborn arrives, courtesy of Google. Shuttle buses (with wireless Internet access for working while commuting) ferry employees to the Googleplex from throughout the Bay area.
And the big perk: the company’s engineers are given 20 percent of their time to pursue their own ideas instead of company assignments.

Show me an art director or copywriter who has ever been rewarded with a 30% bonus. Please. I want to hear about it.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.