What Can We Learn from Facebook and Google When it comes to Attracting Talent

When it comes to naming hugely influential companies and services that impact most people’s lives on a daily basis, two of the most prominent are Google and Facebook. These two online giants boast quite literally billions of users each day, and are the very epitome of information communication. Built around differing ideas, they have one thing in common: they know how to attract and retain the right talent that helps to keep them innovative and ahead of the game.

Some people may think that the very prospect of working for either Google of Facebook would be enough to attract the best talent, but this is not always the case. These sorts of people are as likely to want to create their own start-ups with their own ideas as work for someone else. Recognizing this, both Facebook and Google offer their employees benefits and incentives that go far beyond simply working for one of the world’s most prestigious companies and brands.

A great example of this, are the typical benefits available to a Google employee, and these are most famously found at their Googleplex facility in California. Free breakfasts, lunch and dinners are available on site, as well as free hair-cuts, dry cleaning, gyms and swimming pools, ping pong tables, subsidised massages and much more besides. In these days of austerity, it might seem unusual to offer employees such “perks”, but the reality is that Google is not doing this entirely out of the goodness of its own heart! Employees are likely to stay in the building longer and work longer hours if everything they need is on-site. This not only makes them happier workers, but also gives Google a more dedicated workforce.

It is also a great example of how to create a team atmosphere. By encouraging people to eat and work together, they are just as likely to brainstorm in their away from desk times as they are when they are sitting in front of a keyboard. In fact, the Googleplex is almost a mini community in itself, and whilst most companies might find this a little extreme, there are certainly valuable lessons to be learned from it.

Facebook also uses similar ideas and strategies in order to attract the best talent in the industry, and in fact, there is quite a lot of cross-over of personal between Google and Facebook. If Google were to be considered a “working utopia”, then Facebook in its Menlo Park, California headquarters, might be considered to be its trendier, funkier, slightly anarchic younger brother.

As well as offering the benefits already described for Google, Facebook employees can also be found skateboarding along the corridors of the building, using laptops on running exercise machines, relaxing in chill out lounges and enjoying “happy hour” drinks! Built very much upon a “hacker’s culture” Facebook encourages its employees to be more productive and inventive by creating a relaxing environment.

Whilst they might go about it in slightly different ways, both Google and Facebook are consciously promoting a culture which shapes and reflects their core central beliefs and ethos. This in turn attracts like-minded people to work for them, thus reinforcing these principles. A down side to this, it could be argued, is that it may at the same time also put off people from joining them if they don’t feel comfortable with that sort of working environment. That said, whilst talented individuals may be put off, the ones that do join will all be reading from the same page, so to speak, thus making for a better overall team.

Can these principles be applied to every company and business when it comes to attracting talent? The answer to that is yes, but it goes without saying, that every industry and every business within that industry has its own way of doing things. Stripped down to its basic level, though, both Google and Facebook are offering an environment for their staff where they can feel comfortable and creative, where they feel valued and more than a simple cog in a machine. The monetary cost of the benefits and incentives is more than repaid by the dedication and commitment of their employees, and this has helped them become the world leading companies they are today.

Richard McMunn is the director and founder of How2become.com and the author of this article. Richard spent 17 years in the Fire Service and now provides insider recruitment training for those looking to join the fire service, police service and also the armed forces. You can also connect with How2become on Twitter


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