Some people dread Monday mornings, but not Donna Dupuis. The Kitchener, Ont.-based software engineer at Google Canada looks forward to the start – and the rest – of the workweek.
“It’s so inspiring to come to work surrounded by brilliant minds,” says Ms. Dupuis, who moved from Vancouver two years ago to work at Google. “I have a great team, and everyone has something to teach. You can’t always find that at every workplace.”
That’s just part of a winning formula that helped Google earn the Great Place to Work Institute’s number one rank for 2013 as Canada’s Best Workplace for companies with more than 1,000 employees.
Ms. Dupuis is one of about 400 “Googlers” in Canada – also known as “Canooglers” – a select group of workers who are among the best and brightest in their field. They have to be to work at Google, a company that built its brand on groundbreaking innovations with global impact. Think Google Search and Gmail – technologies that forever changed the way people found information and connected online.
Michelle DeBeyer, HR business partner at Google Canada, says the company attracts the best engineers and innovators because it offers opportunities “to work on the most innovative projects in the world, the coolest technologies that touch the lives of millions of people.”
But the chance to work on cool projects isn’t the only reason Google manages to attract and retain the industry’s top talent year after year, says Ms. DeBeyer. Through a combination of programs, practices, workspaces and amenities – all designed with employees in mind – Google has created a high-performance workplace that makes Googlers like Ms. Dupuis enjoy coming to work everyday.
“We have pretty lofty goals – to create the happiest and healthiest work environment in the world, and to ensure a really innovative work environment where people can do their best work,” says Ms. DeBeyer.
The company is certainly living up to these goals. To walk into Google’s offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal is to enter a land of fun and whimsy. The company’s brand colours of blue, red, green and yellow are visible everywhere. Communal spaces encourage employees to gather and collaborate, while workspaces are designed around each worker’s personal preferences.
“For example, if you’re more comfortable working at a standing desk, then you’ll get a standing desk,” says Ms. DeBeyer. “People create their own work environments.”
Google takes the health and well-being of its employees very seriously. The company provides on-site gyms, health assessments, flu shots and massages, just to name a few of its health-focused benefits. Each location boasts a cafeteria where professional chefs whip up fresh meals every day for employees. To make it easy for Googlers to make healthy food choices, meal items are colour coded according to level of healthfulness.
“We also do cooking classes to encourage healthy eating not just during those five days in the week when you’re in the office, but also during the evenings and weekends,” says Ms. DeBeyer.
Working at Google can be pretty intense. That’s why the company has incorporated fun activities into the design of its offices. Googlers can take a mental break over a game of foosball, air hockey, basketball or even mini-golf at the Toronto office.
“We want working at Google to be fun and interesting,” says Ms. DeBeyer. “We want this to be the place where you really want to be.”
NOT ON THE LIST?
If your workplace isn’t on this year’s list but you think it should be, we encourage you to participate in the 2014 list of Best Workplaces in Canada. We are now accepting nominations at www.greatplacetowork.ca.