Airbnb Ties Employee Bonuses to Guest Safety

SAN FRANCISCO—Gearing up for its planned initial public offering (IPO) next year, Airbnb has revealed that it’s updating its corporate governance and compensation, tying employee bonuses to guest safety.

“Building an enduringly successful business goes hand in hand with making a positive contribution to society,” the company said. “Increasingly, this is what citizens, consumers, employees, communities and policy makers desire—even demand.”

Airbnb gathers data (by tracking guest safety incidents and verifying hosts, guests and listings) which is considered when the company makes decisions and creates employee incentives. Now, Airbnb is taking the following steps to ensure this data informs how it does business and compensates employees:

First, Airbnb is establishing an official stakeholder committee on its board of directors. The committee will be chaired by Belinda Johnson after she transitions from her current role as COO to become a member of the Airbnb Board. This committee will be responsible for advising its board regarding its multi-stakeholder approach and the impact of the company on its stakeholders, the steps to institutionalize this approach into the company’s governance and the application of its corporate governance principles to shape the future of the company.

Second, Airbnb has created an internal team that is leading its work to become a company that serves all stakeholders. This team is led by Joe “Joebot” Zadeh. Zadeh was one of the first 10 employees at Airbnb, is a member of its executive team, and has led the development of signature products and services, from professional photography to designing and scaling Airbnb Experiences.

Third, Airbnb is linking its adherence to its principles to goal-setting and employee compensation. Specifically, its principles and metrics are integrated into the company goal-setting process and are a central component of its company bonus program for all employees. Several metrics will be considered when Airbnb awards bonuses to employees, including but not limited to progress on its stakeholder principles, such as our progress on guest safety.

“When we first sat down to begin this work, we knew we were undertaking a difficult and serious task. We allowed ourselves to think about problems and opportunities that will take multiple teams working over multiple years to solve,” the company said. “We are nowhere near finished.”