The idea for Shutterstock came from founder Jon Oringer’s experience as a “serial entrepreneur.” Oringer saw that prospects are much likelier to look at information about a company if stories about it include pictures, but buying professional photographs is expensive for a start-up. One stock image could cost hundreds of dollars. Oringer thought that if he could make photographs easy and affordable to buy online, the volume of sales could make an attractive market for buyers and sellers alike.
Oringer got started on his own. He bought a camera, took 100,000 photos, and chose 30,000 to upload into an online database. He sold customers $49 subscriptions for the right to use any of the photos. Even with his limited photography skill, Oringer soon had a growing business. He began signing up professional photographers, eventually building his database to contain more than 32 million images, including illustrations and videos. Now the standard subscription rate is $249 for the right to use up to 25 images a month, with extensive users paying more. Even with the higher prices, Shutterstock boasts about half a million users. The cost is still a bargain compared with other art/photograph? sources, and the volume of sales has generated a comfortable living for many of the artists and photographers who work with Shutterstock? Being online has helped Shutterstock build an international customer base, and it now operates in 14 languages and obtains work from 100 countries.
To serve the growing demand, Shutterstock hired soft-ware engineers to build the system’s capabilities and then hired specialists in support functions. (The photographers are not employees but have contracts with Shutterstock and may sell their work to other agencies as well.) Although Shutterstock’s growth strategy focuses on automation, the company has grown to include more than 200 employees. To handle the growth, Oringer has had to figure out how to organize the company. The company’s basic structure involves functional divisions such as products, marketing, technology, and finance. About two-fifths of staff members work on either the technology or the product line. For example, engineering employees figure out new ways for users to search the database say, generating results by color. Product-focused employees include reviewers of submitted photos; only approved images go on the site. Each division has its own objectives to meet and functions independently.
With a functional structure, coordination is especially important because employees in different functions may not share the same outlook. Once a year, Shutterstock brings employees together in 24-hour hackathons to develop new product ideas. The idea of a hackathon is to be resourceful and pull an idea together quickly; teams of employees all present their ideas (in just two minutes per team), and managers select the best ones for possible development. Although this kind of activity is traditionally associated with programmers and software engineers, the teams include employees from different divisions, and nontechnical employees find that they have valuable ideas to share. For example, in a recent hackathon, the senior manager of business development saw that she could contribute an understanding of business needs while her team members focused on the software.
So far, the structure is working for Shutterstock. The company is growing quickly, began selling stock to the public in 2012, and has posted profits above $30 million. A key question will be whether the structure needs tweaking as Shutterstock’s horizons continue to widen.
10-6 Do you feel that a functional departmentalization structure is best for Shutterstock? Why or why not?
10-8 Besides running hackathons, what else should Shutterstock’s managers consider for maintaining coordination among departments and employees?
Disney Uses Social Media to Recruit Employees (Case Analysis II)
The Walt Disney Company is approaching its 100-year anniversary in 2023, but the firm is operating its human resource function in a manner that is nothing like it did a century ago. The company employs nearly 200,000 individuals and has well over $50 billion in revenue. The firm’s holdings include not only amusement parks but also movie and television show production companies; the ABC network; ESPN; and Lucas Films, creator of the Star Wars franchise. Disney has stepped up its use of social media as a recruiting tool for the company. Using applications such as LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, the organization is tapping into a labor market that just a decade ago did not exist the way it does today. According to Bruce Jones, senior programming director for the Disney Institute, for customers, “we create happiness,” but when it comes to recruiting talent, the company is more specific. “At Disney,” Jones said, “we are intentional about our recruiting; we hire candidates based on required skills and desired behaviors.” And they are increasingly doing this through the use of social media.
It is more than simply posting “Help Wanted” on Facebook. The firm is thoughtful in its approach. “We have noticed a shift in the way companies are using social media for recruiting. It’s a more strategic approach that leverages the visual nature of these platforms, creating an opportunity for candidates to obtain a clearer understanding of an organization’s expectations and the qualifications for open positions up front . . . even before candidates have submitted their applications and set foot in the door.
“As an example, Disney was looking for bus drivers to move guests to and from various Disney properties. On a variety of social media sites, the company used vivid graphics and short phrases to convey the need for quality drivers. One post included the silhouette of a bus with Epcot Center in the background. Above the illustration were the words, “It’s not just about the destination,” and then on the silhouette of the bus, “it’s about the journey.” It is important for Disney to craft carefully worded and graphically illustrated recruitment posts that will attract the best candidates. “The text, graphics, images, and videos,” said Jones, “of the organization’s social media posts should deliberately speak to the type of person who will be a ‘best-fit’ for an open position—and for the culture.
“Followers of Disney on social media already have a connection to the company. They may admire Disney’s movies or are guests at its parks. Regardless, the connection is there, and these individuals want to engage with Disney on their phones, tablets, or computers. Some of them, at some point in their careers, may even want to work for Disney. Sending employment messages to these social media followers opens up recruiting doors for potential candidates. “Why is this important?” asked Jones. “Because, organizations not only want to find the best employees with the skills to do the job, they also want to create long-term value for the organization by finding those who most perfectly align with their organizational culture, values, and desired behaviors.
” Being consistent across all social media platforms with a recruiting message is vital. The consistency of message ensures that users of social media understand the company’s values and may even have a grasp of the culture, too. According to Jones, “This strategy will help the organization determine whether or not a candidate will be a great fit, and it will help the candidate determine if the organization is right for them.”
12-7 How important is social media in attracting qualified candidates for jobs? Explain.
12-9 Based on what you just read, is Disney the kind of organization for which you would enjoy working? Why or why not?