Consider, for a moment, the challenge Facebook has when it comes to managing its people.Facebook currently has 3,200 employees worldwide.
That number, already up from a mere dozen people in 2005, is going to grow a lot in the next couple years as Facebook begins life as a public company. Facebook’s new Menlo Park alone will eventually house 10,000 people.
Meanwhile, many of those 3,000 workers are actually 20-something in their first jobs out of college.
Facebook has to scale, teach young people how to work for a living, and then teach those new, young workers how to leader other young workers.
Facebook will attack these challenges the way already has been for years now, as its developed into a $100 billion company.
Here are some of those management secrets, first reported as details in Fortune’s writers Miguel Helf and Jessi Hempel in their April cover story “Inside Facebook”:
Facebook’s operates as a company in two halves. Mark Zuckerberg runs the team that builds products for consumers. His job is user-growth and increasing engagement. COO Sheryl Sandberg – a Google veteran, is in charge of the people trying to make money.
Every new engineer gets six emails on day one. One is a welcome letter. The other five are tasks to be performed immediately; they include bug fixes that will go live to Facebook.com that day.
Zuckerberg hates meetings. To keep up and manage, he prefers one-on-one interactions. He’ll walk around the office in the evenings and check on people. He hosts office hours. New Facebook managers are encouraged to follow his lead.
Facebook relies on small teams. The “Like” button, which is on hundreds of millions of Web sites across the Web, and used billions of times per year (per month? per day?), was developed by just three people: a product manager, a designer, and a part-time engineer.
At Facebook, the saying is “Code wins arguments.” Mark Zuckerberg hated the idea of a instant messaging application on Facebook.com until developers at Facebook built a prototype that was so good he had to agree it was worth building. It’s now one of the company’s most popular products. Other sayings are: “Done is better than perfect” and “Move fast. Break things.”
Every year or 1.5 years, engineers have to change jobs. They have to leave their current teams and work on something different. It can be wrenching at first, but a third of engineers end up sticking with their new jobs.
Zuckerberg hosts a weekly, hour-long Q&A with employees. He’ll candidly answer any question he can, and for the ones he can’t, Sandberg and her lieutenants are standing by to take the mic.
Facebook hires smart people independent of available job openings. After hiring someone it likes, engineer or business operative, Facebook will ID this person’s talents with something called the Clifton StrengthsFinder, and then create a job using that information.
Zuckerberg is in charge. A Facebook veteran told Fortune: “Mark decides what to do with the product, and everyone has to figure out how it will affect them. It’s not a discussion. It has a whiplash effect on everyone – and it’s part of the genius.” This works because Facebook employees grant Zuckerberg an aura of superiority. Another long-time employee, Andrew Bosworth, says: “The reason Mark has the final word is because he is f—ing brilliant.”
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