Loved by the market and even more by his employees, Mark Zuckerberg, aged 33, Facebook’s CEO for the past 13 years, commenced 2017 by recording new heights in the turnover of his social network/giant.
He more than doubled profits (3.57 billion dollars, compared to the previous quarter, and increased revenues by 51%) in the last quarter, achieving another record with 98% of appreciation on Glassdoor, the Bible website for those who want to work in the corporate world. He is the most appreciated boss by Silicon Valley employees.
We all know that Facebook is a dream workplace. For years the company has ranked at the top of The Best Places to Work chart, and listening to the stories of those who visited the gigantic campus in Menlo Park, with parks, offices including resting areas and restaurants with ultra sophisticated kitchens, it is easy to imagine why office life is so pleasant. However, a chat with people who actually work here reveals that benefits and excellent wages are not the only factors that make Facebook such a special place.
“It is extremely interesting to observe that we are constantly motivated to solve problems that concern us the most,” says a technical engineer on Glassdoor, recalling the huge words inside the offices, “Make impact”, because the corporate mission is evident, precisely to allow anybody to establish relations with others. “We work in small teams and we move very rapidly to develop new products. Another of our mottos is “this journey is 1% finished,” a reminder that we have just started completing our mission to make the world a more open and more connected place.”
It is extremely interesting to observe that we are constantly motivated to solve problems that concern us the most.
Facebook does not only allow old school friends to establish contact but it allows relations, friends and fiancés based in distant lands to remain constantly in contact, and employees at Menlo Park know this very well, because Mr. Facebook thus fuels the feeling of belonging and of gratification in his employees, by sharing a strongly social scope.
The strategy is effective because the question, “Does you work have a positive impact on the world?” received the answer ‘yes’ from 85% of employees. At Facebook each of the over 10 thousand employees is aware that he is a key of the mechanism that makes this multi-billion dollar machine function, with almost 2 billion users in the world.
Zuckerberg stressed this once again last May in his now famous speech at the Harvard graduation ceremony, “One of my favourite stories is of John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s visit to the NASA. He saw a cleaner with a broom in hand and asked the man what he was doing. The man answered: 'Mr. President, I am contributing to send a man to the moon'. Having a purpose is that feeling of belonging to something bigger than us, of being necessary, of working for something better. The scope is what generates genuine happiness”.
The qualifying title is nothing. The only thing that counts is the quality of your work. Here employees are encouraged to ask their bosses questions, not to take anything for granted, proposing different solutions when they do not agree.
This explains another secret of the success of Mr. Facebook, precisely that the corporate organisation establishes that working hours are absolutely flexible, and everybody works side by side, nobody has a private office, not even Zuckerberg nor Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operations Officer. When they need privacy, they enter a meeting room with transparent walls.
“The qualifying title is nothing. The only thing that counts is the quality of your work”, said Don Faul, former Director of the company, to the Wall Street Journal, underscoring the importance of always challenging oneself. “Here employees are encouraged to ask their bosses questions, not to take anything for granted, proposing different solutions when they do not agree.”
Focus on the highest goal and be brutally honest. This is what Zuckerberg asks his employees, and it is the meaning of the Q&A sessions held on Friday, when he meets everybody, from the newly arrived student attending a work experience to top managers, to answer their questions and discuss their problems together because, he said, employees do not exist anymore today. “Our entrepreneurial culture is what allows us to create so much progress. We are all entrepreneurs, whether we have to start new projects or whether we find a job. It is wonderful”.