HRDs and CEOs of Softline Group, Post Finance, and Gazprom Media spent a week between August 8 and 14 meeting top managers of Facebook, Netflix, Google, Cisco, Plug&Play, 500 Startups, Zume, Kaiser Permanente and Zappos!
“I was very impressed and amazed with accelerators, but they are not exactly related to HR. It’s awesome that such businesses had emerged, as the progress and prospects of Silicon Valley – and perhaps humanity as a whole – depends on the skills and incredible efficiency of these people. It’s so great to be able to speak to them, see how passionate they are about their jobs, learn about their work in real time, and observe the impressive results,” said Marina Shvoyeva, Vice-President of Human Resource at Softline Group.
Business meeting topics of the day:
The tour participants studied how American companies work with their human resources and why the most talented people on the planet are drawn to such businesses as Facebook, Google, Amazon, Netflix and others.
Facebook is the largest social network in the world and owned by the eponymous company (Facebook Inc.). It was founded on February 4, 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg and his roommates while studying at Harvard University. As of June 2017, the number of Facebook users reached 2 billion. Facebook Inc. owns other popular services such as Instagram and WhatsApp.
Approximately 37,700 full-time employees worked at the company as of March 31, 2019. Facebook Inc. describes its corporate culture as a hacker culture that drives employees to strive for improvement.
The group was accompanied by FastForward Managing Partner Alesya Glushchuk. Here are some of her insights about that day.
“At Facebook, our speaker made it clear that employees are chiefly motivated by their desire to work with the smartest people in the field of AI. Facebook grounds are beautiful; there are many cafés, restaurants, an 80s-style burger joint, and a workshop where one can make something by hand. Here, the decision about whether or not an employee will work is not made by the employer but by each individual who decides whether or not to give a part of him or herself for the sake of common cause. A prospective employee comes to the company, studies all its internal processes, sees what the team is like, and only then makes an (informed) decision to stay or to take a look at some other business. There are foxes on the premises, and they steal lunch from employees. To get employees used to doing sports and wean them away from their cars, they are given bicycles for two weeks. Every six months, employees evaluate each other's work, and it’s a straightforward process where people write honestly about the things they like at the company and the things they believe should be improved. People work hard here, but they love their teams, Facebook products, and the atmosphere. They stay positive and believe nothing is impossible.”
500 Startups has invested in more than 2,000 companies through four global funds and 14 micro-funds designed for specific geographic markets and verticals. More than 100 team members work in several locations around the world. Moreover, the company’s 500 investment portfolios cover more than 60 countries.
Business meeting topics of the day:
Netflix is an American entertainment company that streams movies and TV shows. As of January 2019, the company had 139 million subscribers worldwide. Netflix streams approximately 250 million hours of video daily in 190 countries.
Alesia Glushchuk's observations from the very heart of the company, its head office:
Kaiser Permanente is the largest managed care organization in the United States. The basis of its corporate culture is the “Culture of Health” service. It includes programs that support healthy behavior, educate employees about health issues and incorporate health-related goals into corporate policies. Kaiser has also been recognized as the best place to work for the LGBT community and the company with the healthiest working conditions.
Zume is a food company that uses real-time food consumption data and predictive analytics to help food producers better predict demand, link it to production and make better decisions about resources in the food supply chain. The company currently employs 450 people and operates in three areas, Zume Forward, Zume Culinary and Zoom Source.
When the HR team visited the company, they had an opportunity to chat with some interesting people from Zume Pizza.
Zume Pizza is one of many startups in Silicon Valley that has been able to combine cooking and technology to develop a productive cooking process.
Zume Pizza is a company that delivers freshly prepared pizza all over San Francisco in specially equipped vans. The developers were able to arrange the pizza-making process in such a way that robots and humans would work together as productively as possible.
In an atmosphere of lightness and fun, they create unique products:
There’s no need to worry about robots replacing humans, because:
Plug & Play is Silicon Valley’s largest accelerator headquartered in Sunnyvale, California. It is a community of more than 300 startups, 180 venture capital funds and dozens of leading universities and corporations.
We were met by the company’s Vice President, a brilliant woman and a true master of her craft. By the end of the meeting, all the members of the group wanted to work with her and Plug & Play.
Cisco is a multinational American company that develops and sells network equipment intended primarily for large organizations and telecommunications enterprises. One of the features of the company’s business model is a multi-level ramified system of certification for computer network engineers.
Future global trends are being actively discussed in the United States today. Our CEO Alesya Glushchuk spoke about them.
1. Birth rate has declined in our time, and this is a problem, because it will soon be difficult for employers to attract young and smart professionals. In Silicon Valley, the staffing situation is extremely difficult nowadays, as growing companies need to attract qualified employees but they have nowhere to accommodate them. It has already become impossible to buy a place to live, as an average house now costs $3,000,000, and all the roads are regularly blocked with traffic jams. Some companies are moving to other states, but they are only a few. Texas is very attractive now, because of its comfortable taxation terms and strong universities as well as the examples of Amazon and Google branches that are doing well.
2. People now often have more than one job and they are working for themselves. Doctors no longer have to work at a single hospital and they can make their own schedule, choose their salary and so on. More and more people are working remotely, and they enjoy the benefits offered by Californian businesses.
3. Email is becoming a thing of the past, as employees migrate to Slack and instant messengers. Middle managers are going extinct, as teams become more important than managers. Such tools as Slack and Basecamp help perform the functions that used to be performed by the middle manager (regular managers used to serve as a link between frontline employees and top managers). The structure of companies will change and a person’s importance will be determined not by their position but by their level of responsibility. Now, a leader does not need to call a deputy to learn how the team is doing. He or she simply goes to Slack and sees what is going on.
Stanford University is a private US university, one of the most respected and best rated schools in the US and the world.
The richest and most prestigious private university in the United States was opened by the Stanford family on October 1, 1891. In the 1950s, this land began to be leased for 51 years (the will of Leland Stanford forbids it selling) to talented university graduates so that they could build laboratories and industrial enterprises. Thus began the creation of the Stanford Research and Industrial Technology Park. It comprises 162 buildings for 23,000 workers in the fields of electronics, military and space industries, computer hardware and software.
Later, Stanford graduates and scientists, engineers and businessmen who flocked here from all over the country began to develop Palo Alto and Silicon Valley in the state of California, between the cities of San Francisco and San Jose. The valley was named after silicon, which is used as a semiconductor in the manufacture of microprocessors. In recent years, more than 7,000 enterprises with 300,000 jobs were established here. This is where the global computer revolution began, where Yahoo and Google were born, it is the birthplace of new microelectronics-based weapons, space rockets and aerospace products. Today, Silicon Valley companies are trendsetters in the fields of mobile communications and nanotechnology.
For example, Stanford graduates Hewlett and Packard founded a tiny company in a garage with a starting capital of $538. It has since become one of the world’s leading manufacturers of computer hardware with 90,000 employees and an annual turnover of $200 billion. Silicon Valley is a state within a state. The combined income generated by its companies is larger than the GDP of some highly developed countries. It is a unique place that has gathered together great thinkers from the elite Stanford University, software developers, businessmen and a lot of capital. Here they follow the principle “create like a god, command like a king and work like a slave.”
Many countries have adopted the idea of creating such high-tech parks. In France, such a park was created in Grenoble, in Russia, in the city of Dubna, in China it was in the country’s capital, Beijing, close to the Academy of Sciences, a university, and a polytechnic institute at Zhongguancun Street. In 20 years, this area has turned into a giant technology park mostly producing electronics. Tech-parks were also created in Germany, India, Israel and other countries. In the USA, there are technology parks in the cities of Portland (Silicon Forest) and Santa Barbara (Silicon Beach).
Such was the grand, global-scale result of the noble work of the Stanford family who had built a university to honor the memory of their son.
Google was recognized as the company with the best reputation in the US in 2011, ahead of Microsoft, Sony and others. The company is headquartered in Palo Alto, California.
Google Inc is a multinational American public corporation, reorganized on October 2, 2015 into the international conglomerate Alphabet Inc., a company within the Alphabet holding that invests in Internet search, cloud computing and advertising technologies. Google supports and develops a number of online services and products, and generates profit primarily from advertising through its AdWords program.
Zappos is one of the top ten best companies to work for, according to Fortune.
We just cannot help but share our emotions after our tour of the Red Rock Canyon!
Yes, our week-long HR tour of the best American companies gave us an opportunity not only to network with top managers but also see the amazing beauty of Nevada.
Red Rock Canyon is part of the Mojave Desert, the main feature of which is a 20-kilometer tourist highway. It is along this path that the most Instagram-worthy places are found, including the famous Calico Hills, Native American limestone fire pits, handprints and pictograms.
And just an hour’s drive from the bustling Las Vegas, within the cactus-grown area of the Mojave Desert, there is the oldest and most beautiful park in Nevada, the Valley of Fire. It is not as popular among travelers as, say, Arizona’s canyons, but we strongly recommend you set aside a day to visit it. It is an incredibly beautiful place, perfect for abstracting a bit from the endless lights and casinos of the gambling capital of Nevada and admiring the natural lights. The park got its name from the local rock formations of red sandstone. The Valley of Fire is famous for its bizarrely shaped rocks, ancient petroglyphs and fossils. It even has a miniature version of the well-known Arizona Wave.
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On our tour of Germany, we visited the most famous food exhibition, the Green Week, as well as numerous retail chains and enterprises operating in various interesting industries. We have a lot to learn. We must take the best and use it. Thank you, FastForward, for your careful approach to creating this tour.
We visited several retail stores in Germany, as well as manufacturing facilities. What we liked the most about the stores we visited was the high quality standards of German retail. Retailers know how to sell high-quality goods at affordable prices, and this is probably the main secret of Germany's retail success. As for production, we were inspired by some of the small family businesses we saw.