Many of the leading tech companies in Silicon Valley are known for the devotion they get from their employees. To instill such loyalty, perks that may seem crazy to outsiders are as standard in the Valley as having a desk and a chair are elsewhere.
When it comes to companies that are known for their perks, Facebook (FB) - Get Facebook, Inc. Class A Report is one of the standouts that gets mentioned again and again. CEO Mark Zuckerberg is known for emphasizing a workplace where employees feel as much at home as they do in their own houses.
In order to do that, Facebook's perks go beyond things like free pencils and pens. Here's a look at what some current and former Facebook employees says are the best benefits that come with working at the social media giant.
One of the biggest issues for new parents is taking time off to be with their newborn children.
Justin Moore, a Facebook engineering manager, said in a Quora discussion that company employees get $4,000 in baby expenses when a child is born and $3,000 a year in babysitting expenses, as well as four months of paid time off at any period during a child's first year after being born. "Having these four months, especially as a father, is huge," Moore wrote.
Americans starting at most jobs get two weeks of vacation a year, and often have to work for several months before they are vacation-eligible. And many employees find that trying to take off more than one week at time is worse than a root canal.
At Facebook, you get "21 days paid vacation [and] unlimited sick days," according to a current Facebook employee posting on Glassdoor.com.
Facebook gives its employees far more than just free coffee and bags of trail mix. The expression, "There's no such thing as a free lunch" doesn't apply at Facebook.
The company provides free meals all day long, with everything from burgers and fries to vegan options. "The food is some of the best in the Valley, and they are quite good about showing allergens and ingredients in food," said a former Facebook production engineer on Glassdoor.
Several Facebook employees listed the on-site health and dental care as one of the best benefits of working at Facebook.
Additionally, many employees say they get 100% of their health insurance paid for by the company, and co-payments for doctor's visits are low. "I was recently very ill and the healthcare benefits were incredible," said a current Facebook employee on Glassdoor. "I got red carpet treatment from doctors and nurses and every stage. I've never experienced anything like it."
Closeness to the CEO
Facebook's Zuckerberg likes to hear from his employees directly, and the company has regular meetings with the CEO and his non-executive staff.
"The weekly Q&A with Zuckerberg and other execs is pretty awesome," said Andrew Thivyanathan, a software developer with the company, in a Quora posting. "There are lots of people who would pay money for that experience."
Facebook Ad Benefits
This may be a perk that doesn't get as much attention as others, but Facebook helps its employees spend money on Facebook ads.
"Each employees gets $250 a month to spend on Facebook ads for themselves or for their family/friends," said Mark Wang, a Facebook software engineer in a Quora discussion about Facebook benefits.
The Little Things
Bankers and barbers on the Facebook campus. Free dry cleaning. An annual subsidy of $700 for gym memberships. Trainers that work at the gym at Facebook. A bike shop with free bike repairs and service. Regular ice cream socials. "Work from home Wednesdays" where meetings are discouraged. Employee shuttle service to and from Facebook's Menlo Park, Calif. headquarters to San Francisco and other places.
Nearly every Facebook employee or former employee raves about all the little things that add up to make their work experience at Facebook positive. "Company perks are second to none," said a former Facebook employee on Glassdoor. "The free food, the wellness reimbursement, the list goes on and on."
The Work Environment
Many Facebook employees said one of top perks of working at the company is an intangible one: The people.
An anonymous Facebook employee posting on Quora cited what she called a positive workplace with low tolerance for prejudices against genders, races, sexuality and other matters. "Most Silicon Valley companies encourage diversity, but at [Facebook], it is in the identity of the company," she wrote.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.