Team Building Globally, Serving Locally

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Each year since 2008, thousands of Google employees have teamed up to serve their communities as part of GoogleServe, an employee-driven initiative organized almost entirely by volunteers. Through partnerships with nonprofits and schools, Googlers from over 100 cities in over 35 countries help communities in need with projects ranging from educating youth about online bullying to cleaning up local rivers and parks. In 2013, more than 8,500 Googlers participated in 500 projects.

"Giving back to our communities strengthens our connections with the places in which we live and work. And it also brings us closer together as a global team," says Seth Marbin, GoogleServe's founder and original Global Leader [Marbin is also the founder and lead of Teampedia]. Each year the event has grown in size and scope.

GoogleServe Global Montage

Examples of GoogleServe projects:

  • In New York, Googlers led resume writing workshops and provided career coaching to Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America members seeking employment.
  • Googlers helped Mountaineering Ireland construct drains in order to maintain a stretch of trail along the Dublin Mountains Way.
  • Googlers facilitated a strategic planning session for staff from the Post Prison Education Program in Seattle.
  • Googlers conducted an online tools workshop for NGOs in Singapore with the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre.
  • Googlers fixed up bikes with Free Ride in Pittsburgh; the bikes were donated to local nonprofits and residents.
  • At the Punjabi Bagh Central Market area in West Delhi, Googlers cleaned and removed old, decayed posters with the help of “Lets do it Delhi,” an organization which has taken up the initiative to minimize abuse of public property.

GoogleServe projects are planned and coordinated by a core team of employees, and the company provides transportation, meals, materials, and equipment for all Googlers who choose to participate in projects of their choice, on company time. GoogleServe is the company's annual week of focus on volunteer efforts, yet service is encouraged year round through programs which include 20 hours of work time annually for any individual to volunteer with an approved charitable organization.

Googlers share in a variety of other team building opportunities. Celebrations include retreats at Disneyland, fairs for the children of employees, and formal adult parties. Staff can join together onsite for meditation and yoga classes, hear inspirational speakers, and participate in life-enriching trainings.

Yet GoogleServe builds the team spirit in a special way. "I'm painting a senior center in my town, interacting in a new way with folks I sit near Monday through Friday, and meeting some I've never met who work in a different Google building," said one Googler. "And while I'm spilling paint on my GoogleServe t-shirt, I know that around the world, Googlers wearing the same shirt are shoveling debris, or teaching a teen, or fixing a wagon. We're all helping out together. I like the feeling."

Read more about GoogleServe:

A Teampedia feature article by Jana Z