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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Airbnb Employees Appreciate the Company's "Deep Sense of Humility and Passion"

Posted By on Wed, Dec 9, 2015 at 12:40 PM

  • Photo: Shutterstock/Illustration: SF Weekly

After a year of intense political skirmishes and PR gaffes in San Francisco, short-term home rental platform Airbnb has been named the country’s best place to work, according to career website

What with the Proposition F campaign and Airbnb’s roundly condemned passive-aggressive charm offensive, as well as having its HQ stormed by housing activists, it’s been a rough year for the company locally. Behind the corporate walls, however, it’s apparently a Shangri-La of delicious free eats and the kind of people often described as "the smartest in the room."  

Also, to quote just one of the company’s anonymous Glassdoor reviews, Airbnb is an “open-minded workplace with a deep sense of humility and passion” — neither of which was on public display this year.

Glassdoor’s list, its eighth annual installment, is tech-heavy. As VentureBeat notes, 21 of the top 50 companies are from the tech sector, including:

  • #5 Facebook
  • #6 LinkedIn
  • #8 Google
  • #19 Adobe
  • #25 Apple
  • #26 Twitter
  • #32 Salesforce

Tech companies are synonymous with perks like cafeterias, indoor treehouses, indoor bouncy houses, artisanal cheese bars, and on-call masseuses — not to mention average annual salaries of $156K in San Francisco — so it’s no surprise that employees sing their praises.

What are the cons?

For Airbnb, according to Glassdoor reviewers, its runaway growth that staffers can’t keep up with: “When a department adds 20 people in a week, sometimes it's unclear exactly what everyone is supposed to be working on, and this leads to lengthy and complex project planning.”

No on-site gym is also a bummer, although there are gym benefits.

There’s also a culture gap problem (and we're not talking about its 2.9 percent African-American workforce): “Some challenges and tensions between maintaining a strong sense company history and culture with new hires (especially in management roles) who do not fully understand or embrace the company history and culture.”

And what a rich history it is. Literally.

Airbnb reportedly raised $1.5 billion in new funding this summer, giving the company a valuation of $25 billion. That makes it one of the most valuable companies in the world, says VentureBeat, next to Xiaomi ($45 billion) and Uber ($62 billion). 

Speaking of Uber, the ride-hail company released its own employee satisfaction survey this week, which found that 81 percent of drivers polled are "satisfied" with the company. (As the Los Angeles Times notes, it's best to look at these figures with a healthy dose of skepticism; after all, Uber commissioned the survey, and offered participants a financial incentive.)

So, there you have it: just as perfectly lovely people can sometimes be real dicks, apparently lovely workplaces can sometimes have really shitty messaging. 

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Jeremy Lybarger


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