What is working at Meta like?

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Background

Meta is one of the largest software organizations in the world today. Meta has been hiring a lot of engineers over the last few years. Due to the variety of projects that it has been working on, the performance review system at Meta has also seen various changes over the years. One of the aspects in the Meta performance review system is the feedback from peers and colleagues. However, this format of review system has often been termed like a popularity contest by Meta employees. Many employees try to make friendships with their colleagues to get favorable feedbacks. The feedbacks provided are anonymous during the review process and can stay in their profile for years down the line. Many employees have voiced their opinions regarding the performance review system at Meta. Employees have highlighted that managers have often been critical to them for not attending team building events outside work. Employees often had personal issues or family problems due to which they could not participate in various after-work activities. However, managers had often been critical of employees who did not participate in such events. Become a subscriber and practice the Meta interview and coding questions below

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Meta Work-Life Balance

Employees at Meta who prioritize their work-life balance more had to face critical manager comments later. According to Meta's regulations and employee guidelines, those who are working at Meta are not required to attend after hours events. However, Meta values collaboration and deems it as an important aspect of the company. But still, managers have consistently tried to use this performance review system to make critical comments to employees who did not show up at the social events. Many Meta employees also share that if they have a major illness or need to take a medical leave, they were advised by their supervisors to take 'vacation weeks' as holidays, instead of 'medical leave'. Employees feel scared that if they share about their time off to too many people, they would be seen as inefficient. And employees if found inefficient, were laid off from Meta. It has been reported that the best way of seeing the positive attitude all the time by Meta employees is to follow them on Facebook itself. Employees at Meta constantly highlight the company's projects and highlight any reports on the benefits of working at Meta.

Meta Work Culture
Meta Work Culture

Meta Employees under Pressure

Meta employees are heavily encouraged to share positive impacts that Meta is making in the world regardless of substantial evidence or supporting proof. This is something that employees are encouraged to do to put up a show for their colleagues and senior managers at Meta. Employees at Meta are constantly concerned and monitor who they are connected with on Facebook and how they share their posts. Employees constantly keep track of all their colleagues with whom they work in Meta. Putting themselves in a favorable light to their managers is extremely critical for Meta employees. However, as we know, online content is not always a true reflection of the offline lives of individuals. There are various people who are unhappy, but they try to put up a happy image on Facebook to show their colleagues and managers. Due to this reason, employees often cannot share their feelings and grievances openly. Many Meta employees are going through a difficult time in their lives, but they're unable to share the same in their Facebook posts.

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Meta Peer Review Process

The Meta peer review feedback process comes into play twice a year. There are calibration meetings that are held in Meta and employees are given one of the seven available grades. Every manager reviews the performance of the employees and check with their peers while grading them. The review process moves up the hierarchy of leadership in Meta over the course of time and junior managers keep leaving until the senior most leaders are completing the calibration. The CEO and the chief operating officer signs off finally. The senior most leaders and vice presidents do due diligence and finalizes every employee's grade for the past six months. In Meta, there is a company-wide limit on how many employees can receive each grade. This is often identified by the percentage of employees. Hence, during the review process at Meta, managers compete against their peer managers in securing a good and positive grade for their team members. If managers have a favorite employee, they need to really make genuine cases and vouch for them so that they receive a good rating. If the manager is not able to speak up for the employee, then they will get poor rating.

Meta Performance Grades

Employees at Meta has shared their experience about a stigma that will follow the employee if they receive a poor rating. If an employee in Meta had a poor six months which led to a bad rating, that will be following them for the rest of their career in Meta. Meta employees have shared the different grades based on how they manage or exceed expectations.

  • Redefine is the highest grade which is given to less than 5% of Meta employees.
  • Greatly exceeds is a next highest grade which is given to about 10% of Meta employees.
  • Exceeds is the next performance grade in Meta, which is given to about 35% of Meta employees.
  • Meets all his next performance grade in Meta which is given to about 35 to 40% of Meta employees.
  • Meet most is a low grade that puts future employment at risk for Meta employees. This grade goes to most of the remaining 10 to 15%.
  • Meets some performance grade is one of the performance review rating that is extremely rare in Meta and is often an indicator that the employee will be getting fired.
  • Does Not Meet is one of the performance rating in Meta that is very rare because employee will be fired and laid off if an employee reaches that rating level.

The distribution of such performance ratings or degrees is not a hard limit in Meta, but it's a guidance and recommendation for managers to follow.

Meta Stack Ranking System

Meta is one of the many organizations which uses a performance evaluation system to identify the performance of its employees by grade. There is always a definite number of employees who are at risk of getting laid off in the organization. The process of stack ranking as it is called was used by Microsoft in the past and had received critical employee reviews in Microsoft. The stack ranking system has been known to work in organizations that has a competitive environment and can compare employees by objectively measurable performances. However, the stack ranking system has its own limitations. This system is known to create a breakdown and cause distrust among employees similar to what we are seeing at Meta. This performance review system also often creates a political atmosphere when it is applied by companies that measure performances of individual employees subjectively instead of objectively. The stack ranking system also faces challenges in organizations that demand employee loyalty in return of for benefits, and if the employee accomplishments provide a promise of an advancement in their career.

Meta Grading Challenges

Many experts have highlighted that the stack ranking system works well in an environment like Wall Street, where there is a lot of competition. But in a place where they are employees who come to be taken care of, to learn and to do things with a well wishing group of people, then this model will not work. Meta has been working on aggressively with this model and has become very strict about giving out grades with specific percentages. Employees at Meta has highlighted that their bosses often told them that they did not have enough people in the 'meets some', 'meets most', and 'meets all' category. Managers who are in Meta often said that they found themselves making up imaginary scenarios to appear critical to employees to give them ratings lower than that they deserved. The performance review system in Meta happened twice a year during the months of August and February. Employees often found themselves working extremely hard around June and December. Employees even worked nights and weekends during these months in a race to impress their managers before the review season. This is more true during the month of December, as this will decide which employees will receive the promotions in the coming months.

Short Term Goals

The existing performance appraisal system causes Meta employees to focus on the short term goals and promote features that accelerate user engagement and improve their own metrics without actually assessing the long term negative effects on the different user aspects. Due to this reason, there are various features launched during the appraisal time that has the potential of severe negative long term impacts on the data privacy of users and on the overall experience. Meta employees have highlighted that getting a promotion often dependent on whether an employee can get the product launched during that performance review time or not. Otherwise, the promotion would have to be delayed by one more year. There is a lot of anxiety during the performance review period in Meta. There are many Meta employees who have been wanting to resign, and they will be expecting to get a high rating so that they can leave on good terms. Many other Meta employees who are really committed will be thinking whether to speak up about their concerns, or continue working in the current system to keep their job intact. Any changes to Meta's grading process during these times would reveal whether Meta is going to take any steps to keep their employees even longer, or continue the same way that they have been working before. In light of the current hiring and layoff scenario, it will be insightful to see how Meta focuses on its long term stability.

Author: Rahul Bhattacharya

Rahul is a journalist with expertise in researching a variety of topics and writing engaging contents. He is also a data analyst and an expert in visualizing business scenarios using data science. Rahul is skilled in a number of programming languages and data analysis tools. When he is not busy writing, Rahul can be found somewhere in the Appalachian trails or in an ethnic restaurant in Chicago.

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