Facebook Has A Prom – You Weren’t Invited…

Kris Dunn Culture, Engagement and Satisfaction, Generations, Retention

This is going to make your annual employee appreciation luncheon look a little stale:

"It’s true: Facebook held a prom for its employees in San Francisco last night at the Metreon.Napoleon_prom The shopping mall-cineplex’s fourth floor was tastefully decorated with white flowers, and the gathered Facebookers were dressed up — and so youthful, you might think it was an actual prom, save for the booze being poured at the open bars. (Ubiquitous photographee Julia Allison, who was invited, did not attend, staying in New York for a book party instead.) Why throw a prom? Facebook is going all-out for prom season this year, with a tie-in to Sony’s Prom Night and a prom-dress partnership with Sears. Why not reward employees working on prom marketing campaigns with a throwback prom of their own?

But besides the commercial rationale, there’s a more disturbing reason for Facebook to throw a prom for its employees. With its cafeterias, gyms, and volleyball courts, Google likes to makes its employees feel like they never left college. Could Facebook be trying to make its workers feel like they never left high school? Infantilization is an effective employee-retention program. But it is not a particularly attractive one."

I thought this was an expensive play when I first read it.  Now I think it’s brilliant.  You don’t really have to spend a lot of money – just shift your annual or quarterly appreciation event that you host somewhere to a prom theme.  Throw up some streamers, provide the food (minus the booze – I’m a HR hack) and call it a prom.  If employees want to rent a tux – great!  That’s their choice and it doesn’t go to your expense line.

Next up – Employee rush season.  Click through to see the prom photos on Valleywag…