HUMAN RESOURCE PRACTICES AT FACEBOOK
By Student’s name
Introduction to HRM
University of Hertfordshire
Date of Submission
Word Count: 1,860
According to Vorhauser-Smith (2013) most employees are usually disengaged because they do not like the work they do. As such, most employers, such Facebook, strive to ensure their employees are engaged to realise the organisation’s mission and vision. In most cases, the level of engagement is usually determined by motivating factors and strategies that an organisation has put in place. Remuneration as well as social and psychological fulfilment are some of the factors which determine whether employees will be motivated to continue working for a company, perform as per expectation and contribute to the success of the company (Vorhauser-Smith 2013). According to Lombardo (2017), Facebook has the hacker organisational culture which enables it to maintain its competitiveness. Its culture is defined by customs, values, and traditions. Its culture aims at ensuring all employees are engaged to achieve the organisational goals and objectives. As such, Facebook ensures its employees are both extrinsically and intrinsically motivated. Extrinsic motivation is achieved by rewarding its employees competitively as well as providing other tangible benefits at the workplace. On the other hand, intrinsic motivation is achieved by giving employees challenging tasks that make them gain mastery on certain areas (Sindell & Sindell 2015). This paper explores how Facebook engages and motivates its employees by comparing its practices with those of other companies such as Google and Apple Computers. It also discusses the appropriate leadership theory and concepts which are evident in Facebook’s management.
Engaging and Motivating Employees
Facebook has some of the best people management practices in the world. It ensures all its employees are well motivated and fully engaged to perform their tasks. Its first motivating factor is to ensure people do what they like most. For example, its engineers are usually given an opportunity to decide which part of the company they fit well. They are also given a chance to choose which teams they want to belong to in order to have a meaningful impact on the company (McCracken 2015). This strategy has ensured that Facebook employees are engaged in what they do, which has contributed to the accelerated growth of the company.
Additionally, Facebook motivates its employees by having a good working environment and culture. Its employees are usually assigned a laptop after being hired as opposed to a desktop. This allows them to choose the most convenient place where they can work from in any day. According to McCracken (2015), the working space at Facebook is designed in such a manner that allows employees to have serendipitous encounters. At the same time, the Facebook Campus has many micro-kitchens which are located in different parts of the campus. This allows employees to have brief encounters with their employees, probe into what others are working on, and probably get suggestions and new ideas on how to solve a certain problem. Google has a similar culture to that of Facebook. It has been ranked as the best place to work in the world because of the freedom it gives its employees (Vorhauser-Smith 2013). Its employees are free to interact with their colleagues in different places including its kitchen, where it offers free meals. However, Facebook’s culture is different from that of Apple Computers, where employees sign a strict non-disclosure agreement. At Apple the culture is so strict that design engineers are not allowed to discuss with other employees what they are working on (Heskett 2012). Whereas Facebook’s culture is supposed to encourage creativity and innovation, Apple’s culture aims at protecting the company’s innovation from competition.
It is important to note that Facebook tries to motivate its employees both extrinsically and intrinsically. Extrinsic motivation covers aspects such as services provided by the company on site such as good remuneration, car washes, medical cover, free food, on-site fitness and other employee benefits (Sindell & Sindell 2015). On the other hand, intrinsic motivation comes from the work that Facebook employees do such as staying up late to work on a new code. Comparing Facebook to Google shows that Google offers its employees better extrinsic motivation because it has more employee rewards. It is the best company to work for because of its good working environment and generous offers (Vorhauser-Smith 2013).
To add to the above, leadership at Facebook lays more emphasis on personal performance as opposed to teamwork performance. The company’s mantra urges its employees to make an impact, which tends to promote the tendency to focus on personal achievements as opposed to group work achievements (Sindell & Sindell 2015). Managers are also required to be contributors, which makes them to focus more on making an impact through personal wins as opposed to motivating their teams to perform better. Having people report under the managers becomes an added responsibility as opposed to being the manager’s main responsibility. Although this approach has a negative impact on teamwork at the company, it also ensures all employees are engaged irrespective of their position in the company. The same happens in Apple computers where managers have their personal goals apart from managing their teams (Lussier & Achua, 2015). This culture was introduced by Steve Jobs who was keen on what the company’s top management did to move the company forward. On the other hand, Google values both personal and teamwork achievements. The main duties for managers at Google are management duties. Managers are expected to listen to their employees, encourage them and offer timely feedback (Vorhauser-Smith 2013).
According to Sindell and Sindell (2015), Facebook’s mission and vision are some of the sources of intrinsic motivation for its employees. The workers believe what they do makes a great impact on the world. They are happy to connect people through the internet and change the way they interact. Abraham Maslow’s motivation theory holds that people have five categories of needs (Winkler 2010). To meet employee’s basic needs, Facebook gives its employees competitive remunerations. Employees who come up with new ideas are also rewarded appropriately. Proper remuneration allows employees to meet their basic needs such as clothing, shelter and food. Sindell and Sindell (2015) argue that good remuneration is a motivating factor which allows employees to meet their security needs. A company that pays its employees well through good salaries, bonuses and stronger incentives keeps its top performers engaged without having to worry about finding employment elsewhere. Lastly, Facebook meets its employees’ self-actualisation needs by giving them new exciting assignments that keep them engaged and further stretch their limits. Working on an application that is likely to change the way people connect with others keeps the top performers in the company engaged. As such, Facebook motivates its employees by assigning them challenging tasks that enable them to develop mastery in a new domain (Sindell & Sindell 2015).
Facebook’s high employee engagement and motivation emanate from the leadership styles of its top management. Its chief executive officer and founder, Mark Zuckerberg, is a transformational leader who has ensured the company’s top leadership is composed of transformational leaders who can inspire Facebook employees to remain committed to the company’s mission. According to McCracken (2015), Zuckerberg has established a culture where employees think about the company mission in the same way as its founder. This is similar to the culture which Steve Jobs had established at Apple Computers where the chief executive officer influences almost everything that employees do (Lussier & Achua, 2015).
Transformational leadership requires leaders to have good communication skills in order to motivate their employees (Nixon, Harrington & Parker 2011). Facebook’s top leaders, starting with its chief executive officer, are great motivators with the ability to articulate the company’s vision in a way that inspires others. When a vision is articulated well and clearly, employees begin to use it as orientation for their behaviour in the company. Winkler (2010) argues that employees are likely to be more engaged when a vision comes from a transformational leader’s authenticity.
Additionally, transformational leaders consider the individual needs of their followers in order to know how to intervene and support them. Transformational leaders succeed in supporting new possibilities and inspiring confidence (Griffin 2007). They serve as a proof of what the company can achieve. Mark Zuckerberg is a proof that people can achieve more than they first thought. Zuckerberg is a great inspiration to the employees that they can achieve new and great feats if they remain determined and focused on what they do. As Dess and Picken (2000) point out, transformational leaders use their charisma and knowledge in challenging their followers to think creatively and come up with new ways of attaining the organisation’s strategic vision. As such, the emphasis at Facebook has always been on coming up with new exciting ways that can add value to Facebook users. At the same time, transformational leaders treat their followers with respect. They do not consider themselves special and most of them allow their followers to interact with them. For instance, Mark Zuckerberg has a glass office where all employees can see what their chief executive officer does. They can also interact with Zuckerberg whenever they need assistance on a certain application or any other work-related issue. As Winkler (2010) explains, it is the transformational leader’s duty to ensure there is a good relationship between leaders and followers in order to ensure the subordinates’ needs and concerns are understood and shared.
As Winkler (2010) points out, transformational leaders display charisma and idealised influence. Their followers trust and respect them because of their outstanding abilities and achievements. Most of their subordinates identify themselves with the high ethical and moral demands of their leader. They are viewed as a special people worth emulating (Winkler 2010). This is the case with Mark Zuckerberg who all employees in Facebook hold in high regard.
Lastly, transformational leaders offer inspirational motivation. The main responsibility of the top management in an organisation is to share a vision and ensure employees are engaged with this vision (Winkler 2010). When the vision is shared appropriately, it arouses teamwork in the company. It also promotes optimism, enthusiasm and intellectual stimulation. The intellectual stimulation makes employees become innovative and creative to advance the company’s values and beliefs. It allows followers to question the existing assumptions and beliefs, which serves as a foundation for innovation (Winkler 2010). This is what Zuckerberg and the senior managers do at Facebook. They offer inspirational motivation to their teams which sets them on the path towards innovation and growth.
Facebook engages and motivates its employees by having a good reward management system, appropriate leadership and teamwork strategies, as well as an efficient culture and structure. Its culture has always ensured its employees work in fields where they can do their best. As such, its employees are given an opportunity to choose which area they would want work in immediately after recruitment. Another way of keeping its employees motivated has been offering competitive remuneration and other workplace benefits. It also allows its employees to work on challenging tasks which give them an opportunity to grow their personal skills. Compared to Apple Computers, Facebook has relatively good people management skills. However, it needs to learn more about teamwork from Google. Doing so can boost its employees’ relations and enable them to improve their performance.
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