Facebook’s rise has been staggering to witness — from a college dorm room to a publicly traded company with a valuation of $500 billion, 20,658 employees, and 2.01 billion monthly users. Facebook has undoubtedly done something right.
One of the most surprising accomplishments throughout the company’s evolution is that Facebook has never lost sight of its culture despite this tremendous growth. In an interview with Glassdoor’s Amy Elisa Jackson, Facebook’s Vice President of People Lori Goler said the company’s culture is a major element of the organization’s success.
When urged to divulge some additional info, Goler shared these five core components of Facebook’s culture:
1. Be intentional and mission driven.
Deloitte surveyed 245 C-level executives and found that 69 percent believed company culture is critically important to their organization’s ability to fulfill its mission. Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg could have told you this years ago, per Goler.
In her interview, she praised the executive leadership team at Facebook for always caring about the company’s culture from day one. “When I walked in the door nine years ago, there was already a lot of focus on company culture led by all the people who are still here,” she said.
Whereas many organizations might struggle with culture dilution during periods of rapid growth, Facebook has kept its culture intact through “conscientious recruitment and transparent interview practices,” and that’s important because at Facebook, “the culture is in support of the mission,” said Goler.
2. Promote from the top-down.
Nothing will undermine a company’s culture faster than a lack of support from top leaders. Whether it’s sought-after or not, executives control the tone of their organizations and can either promote or undermine their cultures with each decision that they make or neglect to make.
When discussing Zuckerberg’s leadership, Goler said, “Mark is so human and so authentic with our team… The person that you see, his public persona, is the same thing we see internally.” She went on to say that Zuckerberg is dedicated to his employees and even works alongside them on a regular basis.
Although many may argue that getting your hands dirty may not be the best use of a CEO’s time, it does wonders for an organization’s culture.
3. Focus on bringing out the best in people.
Facebook is an advocate for building a strengths-based company. They define this as putting people in roles that play to their talents as well as providing work that employees enjoy. Sounds great, but how effective could this simple belief be?
According to Gallup, employees who focus on their strengths are 7.8 percent more productive and six times as likely to be engaged on the job. When you employ the same tactic with your teams, research shows they are 12.5 percent more productive and 8.9 percent more profitable. (These numbers become significant when you multiply them by 20,000 employees.)
4. Encourage autonomy and self-expression.
Although Facebook provides guidance when it comes to company goals, employees are empowered to design their own experiences and make their jobs their own — within the context provided.
What ensues next is amazing. As employees take ownership of their work and integrate their passions, they simultaneously achieve individual aspirations while furthering the company’s mission. In the words of Goler, “This is an important part of feeling like you’re contributing at Facebook and the work that you’re doing really matters.”
5. Care about employees in and outside of work.
Facebook’s goal of creating a sense of community goes well beyond free food and ping-pong tables. One recent example is Facebook’s new policy on extended bereavement leave. Now, employees receive up to 20 days paid leave to grieve the passing of an immediate family member and 10 days for an extended family member.
This is just one representation of Facebook’s larger belief that “It’s important to show up for people when they need it the most,” Goler said.
The focus on culture led to Facebook’s recognition as the number one tech company on Glassdoor’s “Best Places to Work” list. This focus on culture is clearly making a difference for them, and it may make a difference for your organization as well.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.