2 November 2016

Will Facebook’s Workplace change the game for ESNs?

Facebook’s Workplace launched on 10th October and could finally be the platform that makes Enterprise Social Networks (ESNs) the mainstream.

Over 100 billion people use Facebook worldwide, with over half of the UK population expected to log in this year. With a similar user-interface and experience, Facebook’s Workplace has made ESNs more accessible and intuitive than ever before.

Facebook’s ultimate aim is to knock market leaders like Slack and Yammer off the perch. The platform underwent 18 months of intense testing under the name of ‘Facebook at Work’, with companies including Danone and Booking.com trialling it during beta.

From organisational collaboration, knowledge sharing, reducing the amount of email, and organsational efficiency, there are a myriad of reasons why businesses should be adding an ESN to their internal comms toolbox. And with Facebook’s track record, it looks like Workplace could soon become the go-to.

What’s Facebook Workplace all about?

At the heart of Workplace is Facebook’s familiar code. News feed, events, messenger, groups etc. But all of these have been adapted to make them more suitable for business use.

Also, similar to Facebook the Messenger function – called ‘Workplace Chat’ – has been siloed into a separate app for mobile use.


Here’s a few other features we love:

  • The Workplace account is separate to people’s personal Facebook meaning there’s no crossover of data, or need for employees to compromise their own privacy
  • There’s no advertising in company-managed communities (whoop!) and data gleaned from Workplace won’t be used to target employees’ personal accounts
  • It’s super secure and is regularly audited by independent third-parties
  • Companies have complete control of their data which can be modified, deleted, or exported at any time

How much is it going to cost?

Facebook is offering a free three-month trial to new users at the moment (which is the perfect length for a launch campaign – see below!) and then it swaps to ‘pricing per active user per month’.

  • $3 per user for up to 1k monthly active users
  • $2 per user for 1,001 – 10k monthly active users
  • $1 per used for 10,001+ monthly active users

Yay! I’m in. But what should I be aware of?

This is still new ground for most organisations and it’s important that people launch and use ESNs with the same care that they would their external platforms.

That starts with buy in from C-suite, managers who are ready to encourage change and a clear strategy on how and why you’re launching the platform and how it links to wider business objectives.

If you’ve got an existing ESN, you should weigh up the pros, cons, costs and hassle of swapping, but if it’s new ground then Workplace should be worth considering.

Some tips for making Workplace a success

We’re currently working with multiple international businesses to launch and embed ESNs and have some tried and tested advice if you’re embarking on the journey.

1. Define your vision

Set clear objectives for your ESN. Is it to improve team dynamics? To enhance productivity? To cut down on email? Set your objectives upfront and have clear goals so you can assess your progress. Remember to monitor these regularly using analytics and anecdotal feedback

2. It’s all about the leaders

People learn by example and leadership buy-in is absolutely integral to success. Advocacy by leadership and managers at all levels can be the make or break of your ESN’s success, so they need to be active users during launch and beyond

3. Get ready to pilot

Integrating an ESN into your comms mix isn’t a simple task. Identify a pilot team who can use the system for a real-time project. Monitor feedback and make changes ahead of launch. Make sure you choose a good mix of people for your pilot so you have an accurate representation of your workforce

4. Launch properly

Use offline teaser campaigns, give people access to social mentoring, create killer content and get your leadership involved from the get go. Why not recruit community managers as part of your launch to encourage proactive roles in the future of your ESN?

5. Have a plan to embed

Identify super users across key business functions and engage these to increase adoption. Try setting up a reward system for positive use and source success stories of how your ESN has helped people. Introduce regular content and use off-line channels to remind and sustain


Speak to us

We’re experts in helping businesses to launch and embed ESNs. From initial audits of existing channels to creative campaigns to drive users, we’re happy to help! Give our ESN guru Lucy McKerron a shout on lucy@mccannsynergy.com.uk or call +44 (0)117 962 1534.





Similar Articles

9 February 2023

Welcome to our Consulting Suite

From strategy, to action, to impact, we unleash the power of your people to drive…


12 December 2022

2022 in numbers – Helping over 600k employees have a better work life

2022 has to be remembered for experimentation, and a focus on employer brand and a…


25 October 2022

Living the Brand Internally. Another addition to our Employee Solutions Suite

Improving brand advocacy among employees is certainly a topic of conversation in many organisations today.…


22 September 2022

Our new approach to building culture and boosting attraction, retention and engagement

We’re proud to launch the McCann Synergy’s Employee Solutions Suite. A new approach to boosting…