During a recent webinar, Glimpse of the Workplace of the Future, presented by the University of Phoenix, Stewart Crabb, Head of Learning and Development at Facebook, talked about how Facebook thinks about talent to drive a nimble organization that is constantly innovating. For starters, Crabb describes Facebook’s strategic vision as making the world more open and connected. In support of this vision, Facebook describes their culture as a “hacking” culture (not in a criminal way, but hacking in the sense of looking for new ways to solve problems). In support of this culture, Facebook has been very intentional about how it structures the work environment, identifies and onboards new employees and manages performance.
To drive a “hacking” culture, the organizational structure of Facebook is very flat with minimal hierarchy. At Facebook, all ideas have equal weight, regardless of what level of the organization they come from. To facilitate the generation of ideas from all areas of the company, Facebook has an internal Facebook page which encourages all employees to share ideas about product and the direction of the company.
The Hiring Process
According to Crabb, Facebook values talent more than any other factor and puts candidates through a rigorous hiring process to ensure they bring on people not only with the right skills, but also who will thrive in their unique self-driven culture. Facebook puts less weight on GPA and the school a candidate attended, and gives more consideration to where an individual’s passion lies and how that can contribute to the business. To assess this, they put candidates through multiple panel interviews focused on understanding the candidate’s technical prowess, reasoning skills and fit with the culture. The decision on who to hire must be unanimous and culture fit trumps technical skills.
Facebook’s onboarding process also contributes to its hacker culture. Facebook starts off the new hire process with a two day culture orientation that describes the organization’s strategic vision and culture, how the organization functions and the current product set. Engineers go through a six week boot camp during which they learn about the organization’s products in depth. At the end of the boot camp, engineers get to choose the product they will work on. This ensures that engineers are working on products that they are passionate about so that individuals play to their strengths and are fully engaged in their work. It also ensures employees are motivated and sets the expectation for self-accountability.
Due to the lack of hierarchy, Facebook does not have a formal performance evaluation process. Instead, individuals manage their own performance along with regular input from peers. Facebook employees use their technology platform to share small bites of real time feedback, recognition and track progress toward goals, further supporting their ability to be nimble and innovate.
In summary, through its definition of culture down to its hiring, onboarding and performance management processes, Facebook provides an intriguing example of how talent management can and must be aligned with an organization’s strategic objectives to drive success.