The big news this week is Facebook Inc. filing for a historic IPO, which could value the social network between $75 billion and $100 billion. This will launch the company as one of the biggest U.S stock-market debuts of all time.
This news left us, at Creative Solutions, wondering about what it’s like to work in this billion-dollar company which has grown to become a powerhouse right in front of our eyes.
The in-office amenities at Facebook include 50 percent reimbursement of most monthly gym fees, photo processing, laundry service, leather repair and weekly lectures by entrepreneurs such as Arianna Huffington and Craig Newmark. Food perks are available during breakfast, lunch and dinner times, with options including salads, cuisines from countries such as Belize and India, and of course pizza. Plus, free snacks for all to enjoy.
Facebook employees must have fun at the office too, enjoying ping-pong, foosball matches and challenging each other during Annual Game Day.
With 11 holidays, 21 days of paid time off and unlimited sick days, we could still consider Facebook somewhat conservative on this side, even more when comparing it with other Silicon Valley star companies.
Medical benefits expand 100 percent coverage for employees including vision, dental, disability, health and life insurance, and cover dependents for up to 50 percent. Facebook also provides an Employee Assistance Program and 401 K. And let’s not forget the 4 months paternity/maternity leave accompanied by a $4,000 credit, followed by a $3,000 reimbursement for childcare if the child is less than five years old and was born after the employee’s start date.
Offering free food and 21 days of paid time off is not the key to why their employees keep the engine running. What might be more relevant in Facebook’s success is how they manage organizational culture and behavior.
The organizational culture can be attributed to Mark Zuckerberg, who has maintained a relaxed, unstructured and open environment. Facebook provides a great amount of freedom to employees, who enjoy open offices, undivided desks and no standard work schedules. This is because Zuckerberg believes that time and space freedom encourages team-work, collaboration and communication.
Job satisfaction is the intrinsic motivation, which results in productivity.
Employees don’t have to deal with the hassles of a big bureaucratic organization; they can just test new features by releasing the code out daily to a group of users to test.
Rapid deployment and iteration are at the core of Facebook’s culture, along with a risky fast-paced environment. Incoming engineers are welcomed with a six-week “boot camp”, to introduce them to its code and customs, to its culture. All-nighter “Hackathons” are also part of the events that aim to build empathy among co-workers.
Facebook has distinguished itself as a true innovator in company culture. Corporate Culture Pros has highlighted three important principles:
- Culture really does matter and it requires conscious attention. Prior to opening a new office, Facebook sends a “landing team” to help with the establishing process. This team acts as a “culture carrier” and the team members stay in the new location for up to a year.
- The environment is the culture. Facebook offices around the world are tailored to the country’s culture and to the employee’s culture too. The company allows employees to hang up ornaments, paint walls, stimulating a link between them and the organization and work space.
- Horizontal structure translates into more collaboration. A flat hierarchy might not work for every culture but open spaces and meeting rooms encourage communication, team work which takes away the emphasis on titles. For Facebook this has translated into higher productivity by facilitating the free-flow of ideas.
Many companies could learn from these type of innovative organizational culture and the impact some of the actions taken by organizations like Facebook can have in the bottom line. Having the most talented employees on board is just one step of the process; retaining them and enhancing productivity is far more important and crucial for achieving success.
Going public will mean that Facebook will have to prove that it can keep being “agile enough to invent the future, but sufficiently stable to handle some real turbulence”. We’ll see how it turns out.