The moment I saw the iconic red, white, and blue I knew what I was about to see: A salon built right into Google’s offices. Apparently they have a stylist who is on-call for their employees who can sign up, during work hours, to get a trim.
A pretty neat perk and definitely something very unique. I mean, when was the last time you worked at a place that had a stylist ready to cut you some hair?
It was the full deal too – wash area included. This was just one of the many neat perks and benefits of working at Google in the Atlanta office. My friend, who manages some large Fortune 50 clients for Google in their sales department, was showing me around and talking about some of the neat products/services that they were currently building.
I’m not sure if I heard half of them since there was something new and neat to see around every corner. I particularly like the exercise workstation where you can walk on a treadmill while you do email. I’ve never used one of those but apparently it doesn’t take too long to become acclimated to walking while you work (and without stumbling).
I even got to meet the executive chef who told me that this was the best gig he’s ever had after 25 years in the food and restaurant business. “It’s a dream working here buddy.” is what I recall him saying.
All this and more just made me think back to when I was working at corporate and all the perks that I had as an employee. They weren’t nearly as neat and as Google but there were some perks that definitely held their own.
I care about this stuff because it’s not just creating value for the employee but it’s creating a culture and an environment that serves the staff and their needs. I’ve been thinking about this more and more because the teams that I work with desperately care about this type of stuff – and it really does matters.
The challenge is that most bootstrapped startups can’t afford these perks while VC-backed startups typically can. But I don’t necessarily envy those with money because it forces us to consider the true nuts and bolts of what makes us unique, the culture we’re developing, and the people that we attract to work with us.
There are a lot of perks that sound really fantastic at first but provide little value long-term to the environment and culture. The Google Salon, although pretty neat, probably fails in the development of long-term culture building. It’s neat, for sure, but I wonder how often it really gets used.
My friend hasn’t used it once and he’s been there for a few years now. Huh.