Facebook’s management operating system

Facebook’s management operating system is built on the strengths and passion of managers, according to Jeff Turner, head of learning and development EMEA at Facebook.

talking at the CIPD’s L&D Show, Turner told delegates the social networking site provides dual track careers in which employees are either individual contributors or managers – both are seen as equal in the eyes of the company.

Manager development at the company is underpinned by the vision of the company, which is to make the world a better place. For management development this means a focus on making connections, so helping colleagues find and make make connections, as well as understanding the data and evidence on what works.

Interestingly, Facebook is not interested in the ROI of its management training, according to Turner. He said that senior business leaders have all been coached – a key element of management development at the company – and understood how it benefits individuals and teams.

Pushed on how the organisation measures the effectiveness of its management training, Turner said that Facebook measures emplyees feedback through pulse surveys as well as measuring indicators such as team attrition, complaints against managers as well as  engagement targets.

He said the company’s management operating system is based on clear expectations for managers, their managers and direct reports, support and development of managers and recognition and rewards.

Facebook prefers to develop managers internally and goes looking for them every six months. Once a year it gives managers an opt out to return to being an individual contributor. ‘If management is not for you then stay away from it and do what you love,’ Turner said. Between 8 and 10% of managers revert each year.

The typical size of team for managers is between eight and 10.Turner said the Facebook management development programme (he preferred it to be called effectiveness, not development) consisted of the following elements:

  1. Ask if a colleague wants to be a manager
  2. One day workshop on what is expected
  3. Session on strengths
  4. Training in situational leadership skills
  5. Training on how to give negative feedback
  6. Training on how to have caring conversations

Facebook wants managers to have a passion for managing. ‘Your strengths are where you will have the most impact so managers are asked to seek them out. Great managers will always trump your brand, so take great care of them.’

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