How Can an Employer Incentivize Social Responsibility?

How Can an Employer Incentivize Social Responsibility?

At an all-company meeting last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company was retooling its employee bonus system to reflect a new set of priorities, focused on addressing the controversies surrounding the social media giant concerning the proliferation of hate speech and misinformation on its platform. In addition to traditional metrics like user growth and product quality, Facebook will reward employees this year based on their success at promoting the social good including combating fake accounts, protecting users’ safety, and making progress on other social issues affected by Facebook and the internet in general.

The decision to reward employees for doing social good reflects a challenge that many companies, particularly large corporations with major public profiles, are facing today. Investors, politicians, the media, and consumers are paying more attention than ever before to the social, environmental, and ethical consequences of what businesses do. And Facebook is not alone in this desire, for example, Chevron recently announced that it would tie executive compensation to reductions in the energy corporation’s greenhouse gas emissions. This dynamic, in turn, puts more pressure on corporate leaders to deliver sustainability and social responsibility as well as growth.

For Facebook, awarding bonuses to employees for meeting social responsibility goals will inevitably test the company’s ability to live up to two truisms: “actions speak louder than words,” and “what gets measured gets done.” To the first point, companies can articulate all the values they want, but at the end of the quarter or fiscal year, what matters is whether the organization actually lived up to those values in its day-to-day business practices. We’ve seen companies attempt to project an image of social responsibility, only to get called out for not really reflecting that image in their work. The impact of Facebook’s new policy will take time to fully materialize, but when it pays out bonuses for 2019, investors and reporters will be curious to see whether they have really rewarded the kind of choices they say they intend to, and whether those rewards reflect a real change.

As to the second point, Facebook has set itself an ambitious goal of identifying quantifiable metrics by which to determine progress against its goals of social good. Facebook has acknowledged that there is no easy or obvious formula for doing this, but they are looking at targets like number of fake accounts shut down daily or improvements to safety and security as possible metrics. Being a data-driven company, Facebook will likely get more granular and detailed about how it defines success, especially with both the media and governments paying closer and closer attention.

Here are four things that any company considering a similar change should be ready to do to make it more likely that an incentive program like this will be successful:

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Facebook, Employers Hit With Gender Discrimination Suit Over Job Ad Targeting

Facebook, Employers Hit With Gender Discrimination Suit Over Job Ad Targeting

A group of job seekers, backed by the Communications Workers of America and the American Civil Liberties Union, filed charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Tuesday against Facebook and nine employers who they say used the social media site’s demographic targeting features to discriminate against female candidates in job ads, the New York Times reports:

The employers appear to have used Facebook’s targeting technology to exclude women from the users who received their advertisements, which highlighted openings for jobs like truck driver and window installer. The charges were filed on behalf of any women who searched for a job on Facebook during roughly the past year. …

The lawyers involved in the case said they discovered the targeting by supervising a group of workers who performed job searches through their Facebook accounts and clicked on a variety of employment ads. For each ad, the job seekers opened a standard Facebook disclosure explaining why they received it. The disclosure for the problematic ads said the users received them because they were men, often between a certain age and in a certain location.

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More Companies Identified in Lawsuit Over Age Targeting in Facebook Job Ads

More Companies Identified in Lawsuit Over Age Targeting in Facebook Job Ads

Last December, an investigative report by ProPublica and the New York Times, along with a lawsuit filed the same day by the Communications Workers of America, alleged that dozens of companies were discriminating against older job candidates by targeting their job ads on Facebook to users within specific age demographics, in what the plaintiffs in the suit say is a violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. The companies mentioned in the report included Verizon, UPS, and State Farm, while the lawsuit initially named Amazon, T-Mobile, and Cox Media Group specifically, along with “hundreds of other large employers and employment agencies,” identified in the lawsuit as a defendant class.

In an amended complaint filed last week, the union named other individual companies it said were engaging in this allegedly discriminatory practice, including Capital One, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Ikea, and Facebook itself, along with several others. These companies are not named defendants in the suit, but are given as examples of large employers that have advertised jobs on Facebook and specified that these ads only be shown to users within a certain age range. The CWA also filed a complaint against Facebook with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in January, and says it has filed similar complaints against dozens of employers, Bloomberg’s Josh Eidelson reported on Tuesday.

Facebook and other companies have defended the practice of age-targeting social media ads, comparing it to running an ad in a magazine targeted toward younger or older people. Critics, however, reject this comparison, arguing that a person over the age of 45 can buy a copy of Teen Vogue if they wish, but cannot see a Facebook ad targeted specifically to users younger than them.

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With New Integrations, Facebook Workplace Grows into an Multi-Purpose HR Platform

With New Integrations, Facebook Workplace Grows into an Multi-Purpose HR Platform

Workplace, Facebook’s foray into the workplace collaboration technology market, has already come a long way from its highly anticipated launch in late 2016. As Facebook has added more features to Workplace, a key element of the platform’s evolution has been integrating it with a growing number of commonly used enterprise software tools (also a major selling point of competitors like Slack and Microsoft Teams).

Its most recent integrations reveal that Facebook’s ambitions for Workplace go well beyond intra-office communication. The social media giant has entered separate partnerships with the human capital management systems ADP and Paychex, HR Dive’s Kathryn Moody reports, which will enable employees to access pay and benefit information through Workplace:

Employees using the ADP integration — which links the ADP Virtual Assistant with Workplace by Facebook — will be able to access their pay statement summaries, pay deductions, time-off balances and other pay-related information. They’ll also be able to get notifications on when they’ve been paid, and generally can access this information from anywhere and on any device that supports Workplace.

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Facebook Expands Job Search Functionality to 40 More Countries

Facebook Expands Job Search Functionality to 40 More Countries

Facebook announced on Wednesday that its job search tool, which launched in the US and Canada about a year ago, is now available in over 40 countries. The expansion, which includes countries like the UK, France, Germany, and Spain, comes as part of the social media giant’s efforts to focus more on local issues, which in turn is part of its campaign to improve its reputation and regain public trust, Richard Nieva notes at Cnet:

The company retooled its iconic news feed to focus more on posts from friends and family, instead of viral videos and news. Part of the new ranking also includes a bigger focus on local news. For the job search tool, Facebook also put the emphasis on the local impact. “The jobs product is about local businesses connecting with people in their communities,” Gaurav Dosi, a Facebook product manager, said in an interview.

TechCrunch’s Josh Constine sees it becoming more of a “blue-collar LinkedIn”:

The Job posts rollout could help Facebook steal some of the $1.1 billion in revenue LinkedIn earned for Microsoft in Q4 2017. But the bigger opportunity is developing a similar business where companies pay to promote their job openings and land hires, but for lower-skilled local companies in industries like retail and food service.

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Facebook, Apple Expand Digital Training Initiatives in Europe

Facebook, Apple Expand Digital Training Initiatives in Europe

Apple announced late last week that it was bringing its “Everyone Can Code” program to 70 more colleges and universities throughout Europe, Sarah Perez reported at TechCrunch:

The program, which Apple designed to help students learn how to build apps, launched in May 2017 but was initially limited to the U.S. before expanding to other markets, including Australia, and select institutions in Europe last November. The expansion brings the full-year curriculum to institutions in the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Luxembourg, Poland and Portugal. …

The course is designed to teach students how to build apps using Swift, Apple’s programming language for writing iOS and OS X apps, launched back in 2014 as the replacement for Objective-C. Since Swift’s arrival, Apple has been heavily pushing various “learn to code” educational initiatives, including an entry-level app for teaching kids to code, called Swift Playgrounds.

Facebook, too, is growing its digital skill-building initiatives in Europe, Reuters reported on Sunday, opening three “community skills hubs” in Spain, Poland and Italy and investing 10 million euros in France through its AI research facility:

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Kenneth Chenault to Become Facebook’s First Black Director

Kenneth Chenault to Become Facebook’s First Black Director

Facebook announced last week that Kenneth I. Chenault, the retiring CEO of American Express, would join the social media giant’s board of directors on February 5. A 37-year employee of American Express, Chenault was appointed to the chief executive post in 2001, joining the very small club of people of color in the upper echelons of corporate America. Next month, he will become the first person of color on Facebook’s board, Hanna Kozlowska notes at Quartz, fulfilling a promise Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg had made to the Congressional Black Caucus last year that the company would soon appoint an African-American director.

With Facebook, like all of its peers in big tech, has been criticized for a lack of diversity in its workforce, particularly in technical and managerial positions. Its latest diversity report, released last August, showed modest progress, with black Americans making up 3 percent of its US workforce and Hispanic Americans 5 percent. Women now make up 35 percent of Facebook’s global workforce, 28 percent of its leadership, and 19 percent of its technical staff. Minority presence in senior leadership, however, has stagnated since 2014.

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