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'It isn't just about fun and games'

Kushan Mitra     February 14, 2012
Kushan Mitra speaks to Jayashri Ramamurthy, Head of People Operations, Engineering and Products, Google India. Ramamurthy was at the Google headquarters in Mountain View, California during the interview.

So, Jayashri what really drives employees in Google. Is it all about the food?
(Laughs) Well, Google is famous for our food and the fun stuff our employees can do. But it is not all about the video games and foosball tables. I really believe one of the key things that keep our employees motivated is the fact that Google offers them the chance to take on a multitude of jobs. Every job opening in Google is posted on our internal network and Googlers can easily change both their job profile as well as geography. We actively encourage that. In fact, I am going for dinner right now to a colleague's house who was earlier with me in Gurgaon but is now here at headquarters.

Does this happen a lot?
Yes, and it is not just people from India moving abroad. A lot of our senior leadership in Bangalore and Gurgaon volunteered to come down to India from international postings. They work on projects in India and sometimes move on to somewhere else - a place or a project that catches their eye and which they are qualified to work on.

Has Google been impacted by the economic slowdown?
I do not believe that we have. In Google, we travel a lot, not just inside our own geographies but across the world. In 2008, when things got tough in the United States, which is our largest market, we believed that our travel budgets could be slashed. But nothing of the sort has happened.

The airlines must be grateful for that…

(Laughs) Yes, I am sure they are.

What is your and your team's biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge that we face is trying to retain Google's small company, start-up feel as we grow rapidly.

How many people did you add last year?
We do not share specific details on employee numbers based on geography, but last year possibly saw our fastest growth. But the idea is to grow in a way where people can still imbibe the culture of Google freely.

And what about the fun and the video games?
Google is not just about the fun as I said earlier. We have actively worked on creating rooms inside our campuses that help people think better and optimize their lives from a health, financial and emotional side.

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