In Focus: Facebook Officially Unveils Workplace

More than 1,000 organizations now using what was once Facebook at Work

By Aliah D. Wright Oct 12, 2016
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​On Monday, Facebook launched "Workplace by Facebook," a new social networking site designed specifically for people to use with their colleagues at work.

Formerly known as Facebook at Work, Workplace enters the market years after its competitors Yammer, Slack and Chatter—well known social media collaboration apps used by corporations for employee engagement.

"We've had an internal version of our app to help run our company for many years," Facebook stated in a release on its website. "We've seen that just as Facebook keeps you connected to friends and family, it can do the same with coworkers. We started testing a version of Facebook for the workplace with a few other organizations over a year ago. Now, more than 1,000 organizations around the world use Workplace (formerly known as Facebook at Work). People have created nearly 100,000 groups and the top five countries using Workplace are India, the U.S., Norway, U.K. and France. We're excited by the progress we've made and the level of adoption and engagement we're seeing," the release states.

Workplace is now available to any organization wanting to use it, the social media site says (the cost is reportedly $1 to $3 per user per month), adding that Starbucks, Booking.com, Oxfam, and regional leaders such as YES Bank in India and the Government Technology Agency of Singapore "have all embraced Workplace."

Facebook's Workplace looks and feels just like Facebook—but users only interact with their colleagues instead of friends. They can follow their coworkers' feeds, read their updates, discuss work projects and share video just as they do on the main app.

 (Forbes)

Integration, Adoption Key to Success

Using social media at work isn't new. In an interview with SHRM Online, Yvette Cameron, then research director for HCM technologies at Stamford Conn.-based tech research firm Gartner said, "Social business and real strategy require a focus on process, the user experience, the flow of social into the business, measurement and business impact."

She added that 70 percent to 80 percent of businesses' social initiatives fail because people don't focus enough on integrating them into their daily work.

(SHRM Online)

Los Angeles-based SADA Systems, a technology consulting firm collaborating with Facebook, told SHRM Online it hopes to change that. SADA is part of Facebook's Workplace Partner Program, a group of technology and professional services organizations who will work with Facebook to bring Workplace to businesses worldwide.

"Helping customers implement Workplace is an exciting opportunity to enable better collaboration, using a social platform that is familiar to everyone," Tony Safoian, president and CEO of SADA Systems, stated in a news release. "We plan to help customers implement this new service without organizational headaches and maximum productivity through user adoption programs, bringing about transformational value for their teams."

But will HR use it?

In an interview with SHRM Online late last month, HR professionals expressed skepticism and curiosity about using the new platform, especially since the prevailing school of thought has been to segregate work colleagues from friends on the platform.

(SHRM Online)

Because friending subordinates is still a very touchy subject when it comes to using social media, Workplace may help alleviate some of those concerns.

 (SHRM Online)

Managing and Leveraging Social Media at Work

Businesses can leverage social media in myriad ways. Divisions can use the tools to brainstorm or sustain ongoing discussions with questions and answers in a feed or on a blog that people can return to later to glean insights; departments can create wikis to share information and best practices and keep track of projects; chief executives can create video messages, produce podcasts and deliver updates or news to employees.

The link to the toolkit below from SHRM Online published earlier this year provides HR professionals an overview of the common business applications for social media sites that have been used in the workplace. It may help them manage and leverage social tools at work.

 (SHRM Online

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