'You can be serious without a suit' - Laszlo Bock

Google's HR boss and author of Work Rules! Insights from Inside Google explains why accessible information doesn't stop at maps and cat videos.

by Kate Bassett
Last Updated: 14 Jul 2015

Work Rules! Insights from Inside Google, Hodder & Stoughton, £20

What made you write 'Work Rules!'?

At Google, our mission is to make information universally accessible and useful - but that doesn't stop at maps and cat videos. That open platform should include what we know about work, too, and this book is a summary of much of that knowledge.

'Fun' is the most common word Googlers use to describe the company's culture. What makes working there fun?

From early on, the notion that 'you can be serious without a suit' has guided how we run our business. We don't take ourselves too seriously and play with everything, including our brand, which is how the first Google Doodle was born (Larry and Sergey wanted to put up some sort of out-of-office notification so people knew they had gone to Burning Man).

Googlers have the freedom to act as owners of the company. Our engineers play around with our products to delight our users. Just search 'do a barrel roll' next time you're in a Chrome browser. There are plenty of interest groups to join at Google, from Yoglers (Googlers who are yoga enthusiasts) to Dooglers (dog-loving Googlers).

You encourage bosses to 'pay unfairly' - isn't that asking for an employment tribunal?

Paying fairly doesn't mean everyone at the same level is paid the same. Companies typically set overly conservative upper bounds on what star performers can earn. Soon they hit the cap, are getting the same increases as an average performer and they're heading for the door.

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