Stacy Sullivan

Stacy Sullivan

She's 44 and has been director of human resources at Google (GOOG) for seven years. During that time, the company roster has rocketed from 50 employees to 12,000 worldwide.

Google's culture is more serious and more businesslike than people on the outside may think. The press picks the fun things, like the gourmet food. Those things are the periphery of our culture. But I'm not minimizing them, because they're one of my favorite things about working here—the way we emphasize people and their needs while at work.

In our annual happiness survey, people are proud they work here. We have the doctors, the child-care center, and all these things, and they're all for a reason: People can get more productive. They can stay healthier. I'm probably healthier because I have a doctor here. The founders love to go to the doctor, anyway. They play with the defibrillators.

We're looking for people who did something that would seem pretty outrageous. Like pajama day, which we did recently here. People always ask me: Has the culture changed since you've been here? It's just more of everything.

Recently the executives chartered me with going to all the field offices to see how we can ensure that the culture is out there, too. One of the executives said: "Try to find somebody in each office where you can give them a big budget to do whatever they want." Let's say it's $100,000. The idea is to have them do cool things—if they want to buy foosball tables, or if they want to get pinball machines, or get some massage chairs. Those things may seem dorky, but they're not, people love them. It's superfun and it builds a culture where you don't have to ask for everything, you just go ahead and do things. And ask for forgiveness later if you screw up.