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What Women Want: Facebook’s Workspaces Are a Hit With the Ladies

Let other companies take inspiration on how to make office life better for women

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BY Melissa G. Bagamasbad - 23 May 2017

women facebook

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Facebook is arguably one company many people are dying to work for. Beyond the prestige of working for the one of the biggest tech companies in the world, Facebook’s core values of diversity and inclusion are big draws as well. States a July 2016 news article from the Facebook Newsroom: “[W]e need an employee base that reflects a broad range of experiences, backgrounds, races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, abilities, and many other characteristics.”

It’s a workplace that empowers and values women, especially those returning after taking a break to raise a family.

In a live chat titled “Women@Facebook” on the Facebook Careers social media page, two leaders from the company shared insights on how to make the workplace more inclusive for women. Hopefully, these lessons will inspire more start-ups to follow suit.

1. Start by promoting female empowerment at home, within your family

Andy Hwang, director of SMB, APAC, and also a diversity sponsor, says Facebook encourages young women to get into the tech industry. Being a father to two young daughters, encouragement starts at home for Hwang. One of the ways he does this is by encouraging his daughters to play with puzzles like Rubik’s cube. Hwang says he wants to encourage them to think that they can do anything.

“From that passion comes a passion in making sure that we promote diversity,” he states.

2. Build a community that supports women

Facebook also connects with women’s groups and brings together women from various backgrounds and companies. “We support each other,” says Hwang. “We talk about how they can prosper in their roles, and give them this community support group.”

Hwang says they also sponsor an initiative on Facebook called She Means Business. “We train over 8,000 women entrepreneurs, giving them the knowledge and technical skills to be successful,” he says.

3. Make it easier for women to come back into the workplace

Preeti Shivane, head of SMB Publisher Solutions, APAC, has been with Facebook for six years now. Shivane had taken some years off to raise her family and says the journey of applying for a job at Facebook after a hiatus from working, as well as her first months back in the company, has been met with nothing but support. She says her bosses have been supportive as well. “I’ve had managers who pushed me when it was required, but gave me space as well. I did things on my own pace,” she says. “The last six years have been fabulous here [in Facebook]. I can’t think of a better place to come back to work to.”

4. Talk about their expectations before they enter

Hwang says that another way for them to help women have meaningful careers is manage their expectations from the company before they enter. This includes future responsibilities, as well as their passions. “We also align people with their strengths,” he says, “because we think the magic happens when we put people in roles that they’re really good at doing.

5. Help them grow through the “jungle gym”

Another way Facebook helps women with their careers is through the “jungle gym.” Says Hwang, “We encourage both men and women in the company to move from side to side and look for experiences that will round out their interest and knowledge.” Even within his own team, Hwang has seen people move on to departments like sales, marketing, etc. “It’s awesome seeing them continuing to grow,” he says.

6. Focus more on the impact rather than hours logged in

How does Facebook help women achieve their full potential in their careers? Shivane says Facebook is flexible with time, so women don’t have to follow the strict nine-to-six schedule a lot of companies implement. What matters is the impact they make with their jobs.

Shivane adds that not only are women compensated well, but the benefits they get from the company are bountiful, too, thus increasing their motivation. “It’s the small things [they do] to make life so comfortable here,” she relates.

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