16 September 2018

What is Workplace by facebook?

The ESN that looks, and performs, exactly like the personal social network we're all familiar with.

When did Workplace by Facebook launch?

Over 2.8 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 launched in October 2015, and has made enterprise social networks (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 become the go-to.


How does Workplace by Facebook work?

At the heart of Workplace is Facebook’s familiar code. News feed, events, groups, etc… 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


Why use Workplace by Facebook?

1. Everyone will know it. And love it!

Half the battle engaging employees with intranets and ESNs is getting them to look up from their spreadsheets and take notice. With Workplace having ‘Facebook’ in the title and brand, and incorporating an almost identical UX, you’re already onto a winner.

2. It’s security conscious – we promise.

You may get pushback from your CIO – we all know Facebook has had its security problems in the past. However, Workplace by Facebook has addressed the problems head-on. In fact, it has a dedicated section explaining security and compliance protocols – including an EU/US privacy shield and SOC 2 and 3 compliance certificates. Also, Workplace’s high-tech integration with Azure and other active directory software systems keeps us safe, ensuring single sign-on (SSO) as well as giving company ownership of ALL your data – and more!

3. It’s mobile (and desktop) friendly.

With businesses having global, distributed employee groups, remote working is becoming the new norm. This is a huge shift from being tied to a desktop or laptop PC to connecting to files and colleagues from anywhere, bringing widespread mobile adoption. This mobile-led new world does bring difficulties for us IC-types trying to engage our remote and front line workforce but, as expected, Workplace has a full-featured mobile app. Unlike most intranet and ESN apps which are unreliable and complicated, Workplace’s seamless app experience blows them all out the water.

4. You’ll have fewer pesky emails to deal with.

Although Workplace is obviously for work, its familiarity means it’ll be the go-to place for all that softer Workplace chatter – we all love a funny cat video and a LOL at the Christmas party pics. With Workplace Chat, the platform’s Facebook Messenger equivalent, our increasingly time-poor colleagues can now say ‘hello’ to productive work-based emails – and goodbye to the who stole my lunch? one-liner emails that kickstart an endless chain of replies…

5. It will encourage conversation

With its aim to break down silos and make companies stronger, Workplace is all about groups where like-minded people can share knowledge. Create groups for work and play and watch the chatter flow between colleagues across the business. Workplace’s translation tool also means faster and more effective conversations for global employees within businesses, and the tool’s multi-company function means you can chat and share best practice with the thousands of other companies using Workplace. Did someone say collaboration?

6. You can measure success!

Facebook has always been top of its game when it comes to demographic filtering and analytical information, so it’s no surprise Workplace is playing off this success and getting ESN measurement bang-on. By seeing how many of your employees have viewed a post, note, video or funny GiF, you can focus on developing content that’s beneficial to not only your company, but also your employees. As well as this, ‘super admins’ can gain an in-depth understanding of how users are utilising Workplace through group types, post types, influencers and much more.


Tips for using Facebook Workplace

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 colleagues to engage with your new channel, and sustain participation.


Which companies use Workplace?

We’re big fans and seriously active users here at McCann Synergy – and we’re in good company. Other brands using the platform include ASOS, Deliveroo, Virgin Atlantic, GSK, AstraZeneca and Spotify. Check out how 1610 launched and embedded the channel to bring their employees together.


Want to talk to a real end user?

We’d love to tell you about our own experiences with the platform, as well as share stories from our clients, like 1610, to help you make the most of this powerful ESN. Get in touch with us via hello@mccannsynergy.com. 

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