February 5, 2014 in Events (live blogging), HR Directors Business Summit 2014

The changing nature of work

Stuart Crabb, Director, Learning – Facebook

Subtitled ‘The future of work is now’, Stuart opened by talking about how being social is nothing new, but talked about how fast the world is changing more quickly than ever before. He cited marshall mcluhan on how we shape our tools and then our tools shape us. The photo of the papal inaugurations (and the number of phones and tables in the right-hand photo) shows the big change in just a few short years.

Stuart then posed the question of how we integrate ‘millennials’, although he did refer to them as the Facebook generation.

Personally, I disagree with the labelling and what I regard as the oversimplification of characteristics into convenient boxes. I believe that everything is changing, but not in a way that fits neatly into boxes. There are some great ideas about new ways of working, but we can’t categorise them into three groups.

Things like frequent performance management discussions, more teamwork, continual responsibly, and big challenges are some of the things that Facebook are doing to help people perform.

Facebook are driven my a mission to make the world a better place, and make it more connected and it is really important for them that they recruit people who really ‘get’ that mission. Facebook use Facebook internally as a way of encouraging collaborative decision-making. Facebook do lots of things like providing free food and dry cleaning, wellness and fitness centres, transporting people to and from work in a wi-fi enabled bus.

Facebook believe that people can be their authentic self at work, and give people flexibility to play to their strengths and do what they’re passionate about (I like this!). Lively debate is encouraged, feedback is continuos, it is ok to fail, everybody is an owner of the company, there is a pause between sprints, and people are encouraged to hack and build quickly.

In surveys, employees say they can be their authentic self, their perspective matters and they are heard, they fight to stay small and move fast every day, they learn from and respect the perspectives of those around them, and they are rewarded for impact (not effort).

HR needs to as whether everything that do has a positive impact, should bring data and insights, should shift from people expert to connector, the most crucial step is finding great people, and focus on the business of the business, and not leave the table too early. HR is not a gatekeeper, it should be an enabler.

Stuart closed by saying that he has over-generalised and that Facebook aren’t stereotyping people but are doing loads of things to help people perform. A fair observation and Facebook are doing lots of great things to help people be their best.

“The X’s and Boomers love the culture we’ve created just as much as the millennialls.’

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