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How Facebook Built a Workplace that Millennials Love

Listening to Facebook’s Lori Goler describe the company’s culture, you might see parallels between its product—a social network—and how the company thinks about its employees. Goler visited Yale SOM on April 11.

Goler, Facebook’s vice president of people and recruiting, spoke in a question-and-answer session that gave students the chance to pick her brain about innovation and human capital. She said that Facebook—“the first big company founded by a millennial,” she pointed out—has the kind of free-flowing, non-hierarchical environment that motivates today’s young workers (and makes older workers envious.)

“Flexibility is huge,” Goler said of the Facebook culture. Employees essentially set their own hours. “You work on your time. Performance is measured by results, not hours in the office.” Other company hallmarks include peer-based mentoring relationships that encourage senior and junior employees to learn from each other, and opportunities for leadership in every job.

The millennial generation, Goler said, is not content to follow the well-trod path of previous generations. Sure, millennials want careers that are rewarding and fun, but they also want workplaces that value them as individuals.

These are the qualities that workplaces must foster, if they want to attract and retain the best young workers, Goler said. Convenience also ranks high on the desirable list, so Facebook provides perks including on-site dining, medical services, laundry drop-off, and exercise facilities.

“Workplace innovation has to come out of the generation and the way that generation works,” Goler said. “The people function is here to serve the people of the company. Innovation doesn’t come from technology. It comes from people. They’re your competitive advantage.”