Googler for a day

An introduction to how Google works (from onboarding on…)

Scott Adamson
3 min readMay 11, 2017
Googler for a day — Getting started bag o’ stuff

My afternoon at Google (NYC) is a space I have been fortunate enough to visit a number of times over the last years. A number of good meals, nice meetings and great friends worked in these offices and were opportunities to chat and understand some of what Google was about.

The visit showed off some of the office’s public spaces (this office is now spanning 4 building from 9th ave to 12th and the Hudson — soon) and supports the largest population of Googlers outside of Mountain View CA (~7000 employees)

Lunch was nice — but the reason I visited was to hear something about the way Google IT works to support the thousands of users in NYC and globally with their tools. I spoke with someone over lunch (actually a former Friends Seminary student) who worked within the office of the CTO and spoke during the early part of the presentation.

The goal of Google IT (or as they call it Corporate Engineering) is to enable anyone at Google to be as efficient, work collaboratively and quickly and experience minimal friction with the tools they use to get their job done.

This is what was of interest to me — they onboard someone in less than 1 hour. The person has a choice of technology (Mac, Linux, Windows, Android) and since everything is cloud-based, the need to have anything specific on a machine is minimal. If something happens to a device, a loaner can be provided and the person is back to work in minutes.

TechStops are peppered around the offices staffed with a specialist and there are bins stocked with mice, cables and other incidentals as needed. This allows for quick access and provides a level of self-support that provides an even more seamless environment.

The onboarding process consists of provisioning an account, handing off an ID badge (for visual security and physical access), a 2-factor key or device (registered to the user) and the physical technology the person will be using for the next 24 months.

Documentation, help and content for Noodlers can be found online via Google Drive or Sites and various applications can be downloaded for computers or mobile devices which support everything from submitting a helpdesk ticket (for physical issues — door or light bulb — to technical ones) to wayfinding around a vast office space.

IT and onboarding was the topic that assisted me in really thinking a lot about the ways we do things, what we find important and necessary when we onboard or off-board someone and opportunities to make the new student, faculty or staff person really feel comfortable and effective as soon as they officially become part of the community.

We desire to continue to excel and surprise people with a frictionless start to their experience at Friends. Will see if we have what it takes.