As Facebook has swelled to 13,600 employees around the globe, it relies on its own social network to keep its “startup feel” alive.
Facebookers spend all day, every day on the site, using it as a productivity tool to chat and collaborate. But it’s also a great way for coworkers to get to know each other on a more personal level.
The company’s internal community has more than 20,000 Groups and although they’re primarily work and project focused, many are social. There are affinity groups for parents, “Game of Thrones” fans, and people who love the board game Settlers of Catan, to name a few.
“We always talk about bringing your ‘full self’ to work,” Facebook’s head of people, Lori Goler, tells Business Insider. “You’re not a different person when you leave here and go home in the evening than you are during the day.”
Having Facebookers get to know their coworkers in a more well-rounded way helps build empathy. Goler recounts one anecdote from several years ago where an employee posted about a serious health crisis that she was going through in one of Facebook’s internal employee groups. Immediately, her coworkers rushed to offer their support.
“The response was so overwhelmingly warm and amazing and people started tagging the post, “#FBFamily,'” she says. “Before you knew it, FBFamily was appearing everywhere. It had come completely organically from this post, but it took on a life of its own.”
Goler says that she even started seeing people sporting little rubber bracelets emblazoned with the slogan.
“It became an internal movement almost that reflects the support and closeness and friendliness of the organization,” she says.
Business Insider has occasionally heard similar sentiments from other employees who enjoy knowing more personal details about coworkers, like one woman who said that she felt more understanding of a manager’s terseness in a meeting when she remembered seeing a post about how that person had recently dealt with an illness in family.
But that tendency towards openness isn’t without its detractors. In a thread on the question-and-answer site Quoraabout the worst things about working at Facebook, one anonymous poster says that they felt a sort of peer pressure to talk about their personal life at work.
There is a division between identities, at least in the digital realm though. All Facebook employees have a corporate account where they can “follow” their coworkers instead of “friending” them. The company has even launched an enterprise product called Facebook at Work to give other businesses access to its tools. So far, Facebook has on-boarded over 450 companies and has over 60,000 more on the wait list while it’s still in closed beta.
But within the social networking company, at least, many people still choose to blur the line between work and real life. The average employee has 133 “friends” who work at Facebook on their regular accounts, Goler says.