Even if you didn’t watch ‘The Internship‘ you would know that Google‘s work environment and culture is known world over for being fun and laid-back. Some of the perks of working at Google include dressing casually, flexible hours, free food, gliding down a slide to go from one floor to the next, and much more.
General managing director of MENA at Google, Lino Cattaruzzi, addressed students at the Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai, giving them a better understanding of what it’s like to work at one of the most famous companies in the world.
Google has 60,000 employees globally, and 90 per cent of these individuals enjoy the people who compose the company, the most. “There’s a lot of inspiring people; there a lot of perks, but the main reason we do this is because we really want to maximize the profits of each individual. To do that, we give them flexibility. They can dress as they want. You should be yourself when you come into the office. This makes the employees happy and helps maximize profits,” stated Cattaruzzi.
“We are very careful when we choose Google employees. We look at four things. We look at how smart they are because smart people make smart things – that’s a fair assumption. Second, how much they know about what they are going to do. Obviously, the more senior the person is, the more we expect them to know. The third is the leadership potential and fourth is ‘Googliness’ of people. In our culture, we work very openly and everyone can contribute ideas. We also believe in respecting diversity.”
Cattaruzzi stressed that Google allows its staff “freedom” in terms of showing up to work whenever they please, however, employees need to set the right framework to use that freedom effectively.
“We try to define what we need to achieve in a given period of time. So, if you come to the office for a while, that’s great, we clap. And if you come for a number of hours, that’s great too,” he said.
The various backgrounds of residents in the UAE and complexity of the Arab language is a challenge to Google in terms of what kind of advertisements and search results they should offer to each individual, observed a senior Google official.
Cattaruzzi, said that Google’s main source of income is through advertising and it’s “a challenge” for the firm to predict which ad would serve best a consumer in the UAE as there are so many different nationalities and backgrounds.
The UAE has more than 200 different nationalities living in the country. Cattaruzzi stated that each region has its own challenges. 90 per cent of people in the UAE are not local nationals. “Typically, when we try to serve consumers, we try to understand how to best serve them and when you serve to a homogeneous population, it’s much easier to predict how you can serve them better,” said Cattaruzzi.
Although on paper, the common language in the region is Arabic, if you were to bring together people from some of the surrounding countries they can communicate, elaborated Cattaruzzi. “But for us, if we go into the details of the language and we try to understand; well a person from Oman will speak differently from a Saudi. So, understanding this is a challenge. Our main source of income is advertising and to make advertising relevant we need to understand what customers are looking for,” concluded Cattaruzzi.
Google appointed Lino Cattaruzzi managing director, leading operations in the Middle East and North Africa in January of this year. In his role, Cattaruzzi leads the efforts to enable local business partners scale growth online and engage with consumers.