As Facebook deals with the public backlash of its latest data breach, a few of its employees have reportedly requested internal transfers and even left the company, says a New York Times report. The news comes in light of a recent scandal where data from 87 million users was inappropriately obtained by Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm.
Although CEO Mark Zuckerberg has dedicated himself to rectifying the issue, there is undoubtedly some unrest among Facebook employees. Especially those involved in the product teams associated with the leak. The full list of accessed data was published in this Business Insider article.
Once the "public relations" tour is complete, Zuckerberg and team will need to stabilize the hemorrhaging and shift their focus to restaffing departments affected by the panic and uncertainty.
Here are three ways Facebook can navigate the tightrope and get back to attracting, hiring, and engaging talent considering its recent battles:
1. Own it, address it, and get working on a solution.
There's no hiding it. This scandal is a major issue. Downplaying it, or even worse, sweeping it under the rug, will only make matters worse.
The best plan of attack is to face the accusations head on and own up to the areas that were within Facebook's control--internally and externally. Doing so will help employees feel less scandalized.
People and companies make mistakes. It happens. If Facebook wants to recover, it will need to take ownership, remedy the situation as best it can, and be transparent about what it will do differently moving forward. Accountability breeds performance and empowers solutions. When we take responsibility for our actions, we become agents of change.
Whether it was an oversight due to rapid growth or a technical flaw with the platform, employees will continue to doubt the organization's intentions if it's not clear about its mistakes.
To regain trust, as in any relationship, it's important not only to apologize, but also to provide specifics on what will change moving forward. People will relate to and understand the dilemma and will sign up to be a part of the solution.
Which leads me to my next point.
2. Recruit people who want to be a part of the solution.
Rally employees around the cause. Once everything is out in the open, Facebook can refocus on recruiting and reengaging top talent to help it address the trouble spots.
Failure can be a great teacher. It can also be a great motivator. Facebook needs to get past the "blame-game" phase and encourage employees to be a part of the solution, not the problem.
Once the tension has been diffused, employees will feel more comfortable coming forward with information that could be vital to finding a permanent solution. If not, the fear of repercussions or retaliation will keep people silent.
3. Put plans in place to ensure it never happens again.
People will stick around if they are reassured that both the larger and the underlying issues have been permanently addressed. When that happens, it becomes less of an ethical issue and more of a temporary predicament.
In this case, a "quick fix" will not resolve employee concerns. Facebook will need to rethink its methodology (even if that means lower profits) to ensure it's acting in the best interests of its users and employees.
Facebook is constantly charting new waters when it comes to its products and services. This was an unfortunate and alarming setback. However, learning from it and empowering its employees to be a part of the solution will help it get back on track and prevent instances like this from happening in the future.