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Facebook's rebrand could lose a ton of employees

Facebook's rebrand could lose a ton of employees

November 01, 2021: -On Thursday, Facebook is changing its corporate name to Meta, CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed, reflecting the increased focus of the company on building a virtual world called a metaverse. But the rebrand could do something for the employer’s efforts in retaining employees and attracting new ones.

“I doubt this redeems or protects the employer brand much,” says Georgetown University business professor Brooks Holtom, specializing in how organizations acquire, develop, and retain human and social capital.

“With Facebook facing so many missteps and public criticism tarnishing the brand, people in the know won’t be lied to by this rebranding,” Holtom tells CNBC Make It.

The scrutiny of Zuckerberg and Facebook has ratcheted up in the latest weeks for its handling of misinformation and hate speech and its potential to be harmful to teenagers and children. The recent inquiries come after ex-Facebook employee turned whistleblower Frances Haugen released internal documents to the press showing the company is aware its products and services causing harm but struggling to address them.

On Monday, in an earnings call, Zuckerberg denied the documents’ claims, saying they “paint the worst picture of our company” and that the problems Facebook experiences are society’s reflection.

But the latest news of the company rebrands, already being criticized for being a distraction from its slate of allegations, coinciding with, if not fuel, employee turnover.

In just one measure of the company’s employer brand, Facebook’s ranking as a top company to work for has slid for several years after claiming the top spot in 2018, according to employee ratings on the review site Glassdoor. It decreased to No. 7 in the 2019 list, follows reports that political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed the data of 87 million Facebook users. It ranked at No. 23 in 2020 and went back to No. 11 in 2021.

In the coming month, Facebook was from the first influential employers to announce that all workers could request to work remotely all time after the pandemic and that return-to-office planning would be made it to 2022.

Still, the rebrand could bolster retention and hires and  efforts for highly specialized employees involved in metaverse work for “the chance to work on something revolutionary with a large budget,” Holtom says.

But it’s unlikely the company will see a positive impact among the public or employees not involved in metaverse work; Holtom says: “I think they’re at big risk.”

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