I debated if I would even bother to mention that FaceBook turns 12 today. And oh how our social media darling has grown since its first debut in a college dorm room at Harvard University by its famous co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg, on February 4, 2004.
Why am I agonizing on whether or not this anniversary and milestone is worth mentioning? Social media is a double-edged sword for many. After all, it was Zuckerberg’s dream to have everyone spend as much time as possible clicking around on his website. FaceBook reports about 1.6 billion monthly active users, and each comes with revenue potential. That’s more people than the population of India or China. And for all of the clicking around that we have and are doing, some analysts claim that we’ve squandered $3.5 trillion in productivity costs.
The social media giant reported that it earned 79 cents per share on $5.84 billion in revenue in the most recent quarter – both beating the highest estimates on Wall Street of earnings of 75 cents and revenue of $5.67 billion, according to Thomson Reuters data.
I’ll leave the above arguments to others. However, after volunteering for the 19th annual Future City Competition Arizona Region two weeks ago, it did occur to me that our participating middle school students who range in ages from 10 to 13 have never known a world without FaceBook and other social media platforms. Imagine that!
For this post, I am choosing to focus on some of the positive aspects of this young company. It has definitely changed the way we use and get information in the last decade.
What I found more interesting, while sifting thru the info about this 12th anniversary, is the employee benefits offered by the firm. Employee benefits are all too often dwindling or Missing-In-Action (MIA) from too many work-related discussions. Here are a few cited by Chris Ciaccia of The Street [Ref 1]:
- New Parent Benefits – Company employees get $4,000 in baby expenses when a child is born and $3,000 a year in babysitting expenses, as well as four months of paid time off at any period during a child’s first year after being born.
- Plenty of Vacation – Plenty is a term that is relative to where you work and what you are accustomed to, especially when the topic of vacation comes up. All too often, paid vacation is also MIA in many work-related conversations. At Facebook, you get 21 days paid vacation [and] unlimited sick days.
- Free Food –The company provides free meals all day long with everything from burgers and fries to vegan options. This may seem like a minor detail to some, however, it strikes a chord with many of us who work under tight deadlines and our diets and exercise routines often are tossed overboard as the clock ticks away toward deadlines and due dates for deliverables. The walls can start to close on you when you are constantly working 12 to 14 hour days.
- Generous Health Care/Insurance – First, there is on-site health and dental care, and many employees report that they get 100% of their health insurance paid for by the company. Co-payments for doctor’s visits are low. I don’t think I need to say more about the issues of health care for individuals as well as parent(s) with children. This has been an ongoing discussion in the United States for many years.
- Access to the CEO – Zuckerberg likes to get direct input from his employees and hosts weekly Q&A sessions with non-executive staff. As someone stated, “A lot of people would pay for that.” I certainly can list at least two dozen individuals who would pay good money for that experience.
- Ad Benefits – This perk will probably only be appreciated by a few, but it’s cited as a plus among FaceBook employees. “Each employee gets $250 a month to spend on Facebook ads for themselves or for their family/friends,” said Mark Wang, a Facebook software engineer in a Quora post.
- The Little Things – Little things include bankers and barbers on campus, free dry cleaning, an annual subsidy of $700 for gym memberships, trainers that work at the gym at Facebook, a bike shop with free bike repairs and service, and regular ice cream socials. One of my favorite little things cited is “Work from home Wednesdays” where meetings are discouraged. There’s also an employee shuttle service to and from the Menlo Park campus from locations around the San Francisco Bay area. I don’t know about you, but the above list of little things add up to a lot – both in reduced stress and improved quality of life.
- The Work Environment – Many Facebook employees said one of the top perks of working at the company is an intangible one: The people.
If half of the above list is true, that would make FaceBook an A-W-E-S-O-M-E place to work!
In closing, as many high-tech companies struggle to increase their diversity numbers, I would think that more women and members of historically underrepresented groups would be seeking a company like FaceBook to work for.
Here’s to 12 years of FaceBook with a future that is still growing.
- Facebook Just Turned 12 — Here Are Some of the Best Reasons to Work There, by Chris Ciaccia, Technology Editor, for The Street, http://www.thestreet.com/story/13447891/1/facebook-turns-12-today-here-are-its-employees-8-favorite-perks.html