Workplace by Facebook 101: Should you use it for internal communication?
Have you ever tried to hold a two-way conversation with an entire organisation? It can be difficult to get everyone on the same page — or in the same room — to have a group discussion in the workplace. That’s why so many internal communication tools have been created over the past few years, from Slack to Yammer, but there is one problem: are all employees able to comprehend and adapt to these tools?
Facebook thinks not, which is why they decided to create Workplace for Facebook: an online communication tool that looks, acts and works like the social media website, but for internal communication within the workplace.
What is Workplace by Facebook and how does it work?
Workplace by Facebook is a platform created by Facebook to combine the easy-to-use, well known and understood features of the social channel with the intranet tools that bring a professional organisation together. It works just like the social networking site with a news feed where you can view all the updates from everyone in your company: and for each update on the news feed there is the traditional likes, comments and reactions to get real time feedback from your colleagues and employees.
What are the pros of using Workplace by Facebook?
Allows for departmental groups
As well as a full company chat, here is the option to create groups, so departments can create their own dedicated area to interact with each other, arrange meetings and update one another on department specific tasks.
Easy to use
With the tool looking and working just like Facebook there is no necessary training or time for employees to get their head around the new tool as most employees are already on the social media platform. All features on Facebook are available on Workplace from polls to video chats, instant messaging and bots making all the tools which make the social network so popular available on a professional basis.
Separate from personal accounts
Not only is the tool easily adaptable in most work environments but it is also separate from Facebook, meaning that employees have no need to worry about their employers seeing their private Facebook pages and any NSFW or embarrassing photos that may initially scare them away from Workplace because of its affiliation to Facebook.
Can increase sense of community
If it is used to its full potential, Workplace is incredibly beneficial as it increases a company-wide sense of community as all staff members from throughout the entire company can communicate, interact and share ideas, work activities and arrange meetings or social events.
If a company has a premium account, there are administrative controls to manage the community, which allows the employer to create rules and regulations, delete any inappropriate or offensive posts and manage interactions taking place within their organisation’s Workplace by Facebook account. Further, with the site having an app option for both Apple and Android devices employees can be alerted of any company-wide updates through notifications on their phones, making it easy for employers to keep employees up-to-date and on the same page.
What are the cons of using Workplace by Facebook?
Employee set up
While not being linked to personal accounts is a positive, it also counts as a downside to the tool, as all employees would have to create a profile on Workplace in order to use the site. For some, especially those who don't like social media, this can be seen as a hassle.
Employee buy in
As with all tools, Workplace by Facebook needs employee buy in for it to be a success. If not everyone signs up or uses the platform, it can end up being abandoned or underutilised.
While a free version of Workplace by Facebook is being rolled out, the service currently has a per-user cost. While small, this does add up for a large company, especially if staff aren't using the platform to its full potential!
So, should you use Workplace by Facebook as your internal communication service?
The jury is still out on this one it seems, the tool comes with many benefits with its easy to use interface and administrative features, but with the need to create a new profile, download two extra apps to your phone and pay per user, many organisations may find it’s not worth it. We believe that it would be beneficial to smaller offices with a handful of employees as implementing the tool and ensuring everyone has an account would be much easier and cheaper than it would be in a larger office with many departments and employees. We think the tool would be much more popular if the option to merge the platform with your private Facebook was available and if the pricing was per group size rather than by single member.