Facebook LikeYou better walk it / And talk it less you lose that beat
Better lose yourself mama / And knock yourself right off of your feet Yeah, if you’re moving too fast / Want it to last / You better walk it, talk it – Walk & Talk, Velvet Underground

 The company’s core product reaches over 1.2 billion users.

The average employee produces over $1.3 million in revenues and $120k in profit each year.

The stock price is on a roll.

Glassdoor rates it #1 in its list of Best Place to Work (2013)

Facebook has amazing employee productivity figures and it couldn’t do it without an engaged workforce. Yes it has some amazing perks – Free food, free ice-cream, happy hour’s on Fridays, but it’s not just the free gastronomic delights that’s getting Mark all the ‘Likes’ from his workforce.

Mark Zuckerberg plays the engagement game end-to-end and he walks the talk.

No double standards: Facebook doesn’t obsess over fancy college-degrees – In fact they don’t even require their hackers (as their programmers are called) to have one. All they want to know is, as one recruiter puts it, “If you can build awesome stuff and have a big impact.”  Starting from Mark everybody in the company thinks ‘big’ – not ordinary big, gargantuan big. To get a sense of how Mark thinks, check out the video below. Facebook’s mission is not to build a social networking site, its to ‘make the world more open and connected’

The CEO takes active interest in recruiting: Mark recognizes that people are his #1 asset and takes active interest in recruiting – right down to visiting college campuses. Now that’s one sure fire way to attract the best talent. For CEO’s who feel they are too busy to go recruiting, this should be food for thought. To make things even better the company engages in “Ninja hunts” – referral programs where engineers are encouraged to get their friends on board – the ones who are awesome and will fit into the Facebook culture.

 It’s okay to Break things: At Facebook, the stated culture of the company is to encourage people to ‘move fast and break things.’ Mistakes are tolerated, inaction is not and Mark follows it up by walking the talk. Facebook has had several public and very high profile slip-ups with privacy issues when they roll out new features, but they learn and go back to shipping things better and faster instead of retreating into a shell and having a once-a-year bug-free roll out.

In fact the company believes so strongly in communicating its bold credo that the corporate culture slogans painted on walls throughout its facility – just in case you missed the obvious.

Facebook works hard to get inspired people on board, the kind that want to change the world, empowers them to do it and tolerates the occasional slip-ups which has a positive reinforcement effect on the workforce who are then inspired to do better.  Engagement is not a one-off or separate activity; it is embedded into the culture of the company.

On the flip-side the company does pay a price with concerns about privacy when they roll out new features without quite explaining the impact to their users. This has led to much frustration among users and bad press for the company – and a butt of several jokes. Case in point, this spoof article by Onion – Facebook: ‘We Will Make Our Product Worse, You Will Be Upset, And Then You Will Live With It’

But at the end of the day the company is rated #1 in employee satisfaction and the CEO has a 99% approval rating. (And yes, the unlimited sick days and free ice-creams help too.)

Do you feel that a culture of allowing employees to experiment and ‘break things’ helps to drive their motivation? And more importantly is it eventually good for business or is this merely a blip on the radar, fueled by hype?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section – we would love to hear from you.


To read more about the awesome Talent Management practices, read the post A Case Study of Facebook’s Simply Amazing Talent Management Practices by Dr John Sullivan

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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