Andy Conrad, CEO of Verily, Talks About “Measuring Your Company for Googliness”

Google, the Internet services business that catapulted from scrappy startup in 1998 to the $66 billion-plus industry giant it is today, gives the lion’s share of credit for its success to the outstanding talent in its ranks.

In fact, the company puts more effort into recruiting and retaining talent than into anything else it does, explained Dr. Andy Conrad, CEO of Verily (formerly Google Life Sciences) to an audience of CEOs at the CEO2CEO Digital Transformation Summit at the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday. “It is the most strategic thing we do.”

Google is a frequent winner of the “Best Place to Work” accolade. “And it isn’t because we have ball pits or slides or a pool table,” said Conrad. “It’s hopefully because people are doing something they’re inspired by.”

Companies of any size can aspire to that goal if CEOs follow a few simple steps:

1) Be inspired. It’s not easy to create a new value proposition that will put your company on the map—and if you’re not inspired by the challenge, said Conrad, “nobody will be.”

2) Hire the right talent. Be willing to invest in the right people who, in turn, know other great people and can recruit them to your organization. Google offers significant compensation to employees who make referrals to candidates who wind up being hired. “You need people who have the right attitude, and that means sometimes cutting your losses and firing people who aren’t working,” added Conrad.

3) Screen candidates for your company’s version of “Googliness”. “It’s an ill-defined term,” noted Conrad, “but Googliness means their ability to fit in with a culture of innovation, a culture that cares. Can they believe change can happen? Is it meaningful and worthwhile to try to do it? Are they going to pull their oar in the same direction as others? The candidates who score high on that are the ones who wind up being the most valuable employees.”




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