I read an article the other day by Dr. John Sullivan about Facebook. Facebook is an impressive company by almost anyone's definition. Glassdoor has rated it #1 for employee satisfaction and its employees rate their CEO with an almost perfect 99% approval rating.
Sullivan talked about all their fabulous employee perks. Quite an array! Here are a few.
1) Extended six-week boot camp onboarding with a choice at the end.
Six week onboarding. Employees actually work on rotation with different teams on multiple real projects. Each employee is assigned a mentor. At the end of six weeks employees are asked what team/project they want to join. In essence they choose their own job.
2) Internal job transfer. Employees who have worked on a project for a year get to select their own next project team. After working with the new team for a month, if they like it, they can stay.
3) Free food.
Free ice cream and cookies
Free lunches/dinners ---- food representative of every employee’s country of origin
4) Happy hour every Friday.
Everyone welcome (except for corporate counsel)!
5) PTO and sick time
21 days of PTO each year from the first year of employment. In addition, unlimited sick days.
6) Benefits for new parents.
Four months paid parental leave for both spouses
Reimbursement for some daycare and adoption fees
$4,000 “baby cash” for a new arrival
After thinking about all these glorious perks, I started playing the “what if” game in my head.
Typically the companies that you read about like Facebook, Google, Yahoo, etc. are young and filled with Gen Y’s. They grow rapidly, go through an IPO, their stock soars, shareholders are ecstatic, and there is nothing but blue skies and happy days ahead.
Then for some reason the bottom falls out. Revenues drop, profit dwindles, the stock plunges, shareholders get grouchy ---- and drastic financial measures have to be taken. The CFO gets his hatchet out and starts to chop.
What do you do about these great perks? They cost a lot of money. At the same time the employees love them. If you drop them---- what effect will that have on motivation, engagement and retention?
What do you do?
1) Cut the perks that seems the least attractive to employees if you have an accurate way of determining this?
2) Let employees make the decision? Maybe give them a list of perks and what each one costs. Give a total amount that the company can spend going forward. Let each employee select the perks that total to that amount ---- no splitting money between perks. An administrative nightmare. Of course, if you’re Google --- no problem.
As for Facebook, it’s doing great right now. However, I wonder if Mark and the CFO have thought of this “doomsday” scenario . . . .
Have you worked for a company that went through this experience? What did you do? Please share your thoughts. I know there are some very experienced people that read this blog, and we all would like to hear what “creative” things you did to make the perk or benefit loss as pain-free as possible.
Jacque Vilet, President of Vilet International, has over 20 years’ experience in Global Human Resources with major multinationals such as Intel, National Semiconductor and Seagate Technology. She has managed both local/ in-country national and expatriate programs and has been an expat twice during her career. Her true love is working with local national issues. Jacque has the following certifications: CCP, GPHR, HCS and SWP as well as a B.S. and M.S in Psychology and an MBA. She belongs to SHRM, Human Capital Institute and World at Work. Jacque been a speaker in the U.S., Asia and Europe, and is a regular contributor to various HR and talent management publications.