The truly awesome part of Facebook's company culture isn't the unlimited holidays or the free lunches, says Stuart Crabb, former Global Head of Learning. It's something much deeper.
You know that Facebook is one of the world’s best companies to work at. You’ve heard the heavenly details, right? We all have. Some of the less lucky ones dream about them while they scrape the bottom of their company's instant coffee can with a teaspoon, hoping to gather enough dehydrated crumbs to stay awake through the next team meeting.
But the real success of Facebook’s company culture goes deeper than free granola, segways, and ping pong tables. Stuart Crabb – founder of Oxegen Consulting, and Facebook’s former Global Head of Learning – was the chief architect of this legendary work environment, solidifying its reputation and talent during a crucial period in the company’s development. All those recreational gadgets and perks that are part of Facebook’s folklore are really only the most visible layer of a culture that is anchored in something more important: people’s strengths.
According to Crabb, we are unhealthily obsessed with weaknesses and negativity. Bad news headlines are more clickable than good news stories, and out in the real world you only have to observe people slowing down on a freeway to look at a traffic accident to know it’s true. Great novels aren’t written about happy people. A film about the perfect couple will never sell.
There is a negativity bias that pervades our personal, artistic, and corporate worlds: job interviews are often exercises in concealing your weaknesses, and an impending job review brings on a weighty stress about the areas you might be failing, rather than achieving.
Crabb turned that attitude on its head while at Facebook and championed the philosophy that people are at their best when they are allowed to access their strengths. Tapping into an employee’s brilliance and allowing them the opportunity to customize their role results in higher performing teams and individuals, longer employee retention, and a greater sense of fulfillment. Tom Rath, author of the best-selling book StrenghsFinder, also supports this idea: "People who have the opportunity to focus on their strengths every day are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs and more than three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life in general."
Employee engagement is also key, and a lot of that comes down to investing in thoughtful training of managers. "Managers play a key role in driving engagement and we know that the relationship to the manager will always trump the brand," Crabb says, in Strategic Leadership Review. "Doesn’t matter how great your company is or how awesome your product is, if your manager sucks, you don’t want to be there. And so the appointment of managers and the training of managers is something we take very seriously."
Crabb encourages all employees to take the Clifton StrengthsFinder test so they can identify their assets and play to their strengths.
To know more, visit Oxegen Consulting