Facebook has long been considered one of the premier tech companies to work for, along with Google and Apple, but backlash to privacy concerns, the rise and spread of fake news, social media usage, and Russian advertising has eroded the morale of its workforce.
Facebook, like many companies, conducts internal surveys or questionnaires twice a year to take the temperature of the company climate. According to three Facebook employees who have spoken to Yahoo Finance, the company has ramped up social events around the office following the survey.
These employees consider the extras an “obvious” effort to buoy morale, which has been low as the company struggles with its image and reputation. Facebook confirmed that it has long conducted a bi-annual survey called a “pulse survey” on a number of points, including morale, similar to many companies.
Last year, the company’s human resources chief Lori Goler wrote about the survey for Fast Company: “The single most important driver of [employee] engagement at Facebook is pride in the company.”
Bruised pride after Cambridge Analytica wrath
Since the Cambridge Analytica scandal came out in March, which revealed that user data on 87 million accounts were improperly shared, #deleteFacebook has been a trending hashtag on social media, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has gone before both chambers of the U.S. Congress as well as the European Union Parliament to answer questions about the company’s practices.
While Facebook is unlikely to be regulated by Congress anytime soon, the public’s trustworthiness, use, and overall opinion of the company has fallen. It’s only normal that this mistrust took employee morale down as well.
In front of U.K. lawmakers this week, Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer noted the toll the situation was taking. “We all read the news every day and we see everyone mad at us and hating on us,” he said.
According to Facebook’s fourth-quarter 2017 earnings report, user growth flattened and daily active users nudged down by 700,000 as the company backed off of its viral video focus, shifting priority to content from friends and family.
At the same time, a March Reuters/Ipsos poll found that “fewer than half of Americans trust Facebook to obey U.S. privacy laws.” And the wariness is international in scope. The poll also cited Germany’s largest Sunday paper, Bild am Sonntag, as finding that 60% of Germans fear Facebook, and that social networks are negatively impacting democracy.
In terms of favorability, an Axios/SurveyMonkey poll from late March found that Facebook’s favorability fell significantly, especially compared to Google, Amazon and Apple, other top-tier tech companies.
At a company meeting in April, the Wall Street Journal reported that Zuckerberg said more job candidates had withdrawn their applications than any other period in some units, but that across the board, applicants did not seem to be deterred. Facebook said that trend has not changed since then.
In counterpoint to the morale at the company, Facebook’s stock has been on a rise since its plunge on the Cambridge Analytica headlines. Since the late March lows, shares have gained over 20%.