Facebook’s Social Media Workplace

It is commonly said to keep your personal life out of your work life, but now with social media, this fine line is continually being blurred together. Often times our co-workers will become part of our personal lives (which makes sense as we spend a good 8+ hours every day with them),  become friends with us, and naturally this eventually leads to a Facebook friend request from them. Our personal social media networks are consistently beginning to blur a lot with our professional workplaces as we form social groups and social circles within our workplace. On their quest to conquer the digital world, Facebook has decided to take this insight and introduce an business product that is essentially Facebook at the workplace

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With Facebook Workplace, the goal of the product would be to help connect everyone in the company under one common platform. Through group discussions, a personalised News Feed about what happens in the company, and voice and video calling, people can now more easily work together and get more done under a platform they are already used to. Facebook believes that with Workplace people can turn ideas into actions at a company faster and better than before. I see a lot of potential with this new product from Facebook. It will compete directly with and even have the chance of beating out a lot of other workplace collaboration tools like Slack, Trello, or Jira.

Team messaging products like Slack and Skype could be obsolete with the Work Chat features of Workplace. People can message people instantly, create group chats for project teams they are working on, send files directly to other members on your teams or to different offices, and video chat in co-workers for those face to face interactions.

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This effective communication platform is further enhanced with their Work News Feed on Workplace. Just like the original News Feed, it will allow for updates and other shareable news, content, announcements, etc. that would liked to be shared the organization. I can see this great for announcing new hires, give company wide updates, and general announcements. This in itself could eliminate company wide emails and announcements. Work News Feed can also help with building company culture and engagement, such as publicizing initiatives and events,  which would be useful for HR teams trying to build out a culture people love to work at.

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In addition to team communication, team collaboration is another selling point for Facebook’s Workplace with the utilization of the Groups feature. This will be a shared space that will allow employees to collaborate with each other, share with the right people to make decisions, and keep the team on the same page for various projects. Project managers can pull together Groups for projects, assign tasks out, and track progress from team members from what they share in the group.

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Facebook Workplace is bringing the best from their social network to the work environment all in one platform. Users already used to using the social network in their personal lives can easily transition use to their professional life now while having the functionality and efficiency of a team collaboration and communication tool. This new product from Facebook is truly a game changer in the marketplace now for businesses. With dozens and dozens of tools competing for organizations and companies’ messaging and collaborations methods like Slack, Trello, Jira, Skype, Basecamp, Jive, to name a few, Facebook differentiates itself with having an all in one platform that easy to learn due to user’s comfortability with it’s public personal social media interface already. This could cut down training time and costs for companies, as it is an easy, all in one product that they could have without paying for multiple tools.

Of course, Facebook will need to continue to grow Workplace and improve upon it to be a true game changer in this segment. What do you think can be improved on for Facebook Workplace to dominate the market? What do you think it is lacking at this point? Would you use this if your company had this instead of the other tools and why or why not?

10 comments

  1. I really liked your post. It is interesting to see how Facebook is expanding into a site that employers can use for communication, hiring announcements, etc. However, I do believe that users will be hesitant to leverage these sites as Facebook contains a lot of personal information- some of which would not be the best for employers to see about their employees. Another interesting area of expansion for Facebook is that they are thinking of expanding into a Linkedin type in service where people can look for open jobs. It will be interesting to see if these platforms are successful as a job platform. However, one of the important components of finding a job is networking- so maybe Facebook may end up being the perfect platform for a job site as these sites all leverage personal networks and relationships.

  2. kdphilippi18 · ·

    Great post! I have been meaning to learn more about Facebook’s new workplace platform so I was excited to read your blog! I think you highlighted a number of important points about why this new offering is beneficial. My current employer uses skype and microsoft’s one note to message and collaborate so I think having a platform where everything is together is a huge advantage. However, I do think there is one major drawback that Facebook as well as the other offerings face – company adoption. It takes serious investment and time for a company’s culture to change from what they currently use to a new platform like this. If a company heavily relies on email and other programs, they will be resistant to change – despite how great the new program is. Facebook needs to devise a strategy that can help companies easily and effectively implement this new tool into its culture. They have a leg up because most are already familiar with how to navigate the platform, but most are not used to using Facebook in a work sense so it will also be necessary for Facebook to position themselves as a secure and professional platform, not just a social one. I’m very interested to see whether or not it succeeds!

  3. polmankevin · ·

    I think this is a no-brainer for Facebook. They have the infrastructure to roll out this product, they have a brand that people trust, they have some of the best programmers in the world at their company, and people already know how to use Facebook. This kind of internal social network is definitely the future for companies. Especially firms that suffer from email-mania. As more young people join the work place Facebook Workplace is positioned extremely well to dominate this space. The issue that it is very difficult to change the culture of an organization. Younger firms probably don’t need help socializing online, and older firms might get frustrated with internal technology platforms. I’m rooting for Facebook Workplace, it can definitely help solve many relevant problems in the workplace, but can it win this space?

  4. Aditya Murali · ·

    What’s great about FB Workplace is that it already has an advantage that none of these other platforms has: there are no switching costs. It would be one thing for people to move from Slack to, lets say, Trello. Employees would have to create a new account and transfer all their info over. With Facebook however, everyone already has an account, and most of their info is already on there! That’s not to say that there are no switching costs at all, obviously if you are used to one interface, it will take some time to get used to the other. But, as Kevin said, people already know how to use Facebook and that is also a huge advantage. If FB can differentiate this product a bit, and make sure that personal FB and work FB does not mix, they definitely have the potential to dominate this space.

  5. Great post. I think one thing that will restrict Facebook from making this as successful as they want is the simple idea that Facebook is supposed to be a platform for your non work networks. I think this will work a lot better in younger demographic environments like startups. It’s the same reason why platforms like Slack have done fairly well in those demographics but have not been able to penetrate larger companies in financial services or even technology. It’s hard to teach a large workforce to switch over from traditional platforms, and if these companies don’t feel that there will be a marginal benefit relative to the costs of teaching so many people to use new platforms, it will be difficult to get them to make the conversion. That being said, as younger demographics enter the workforce, we may see some changes. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Nice post! It definitely makes sense for Facebook to take these features they already have (messenger, groups, events, news feed, etc.) and just turn them into features that you can use for a company. I do wonder about how many people will be willing to take this up though, since, as you mentioned in the beginning, people are often told to keep their personal life out of your work life.

    In high school I’m sure we were all warned about how we should make sure to keep things private in case college admissions people took a look at our pages and saw something that would make us look bad. I know back then that a lot of my Facebook friends changed their names (and used nicknames or put their names in reverse or something like that) so that it would be harder for college admissions officers to find them. Even now as a senior in college I’m seeing people do the same thing so that employers or grad school admissions officers won’t be able to find them on Facebook. Because of that, I’m wondering how willing people would be to use their personal Facebook (am I right in that? Wasn’t quite sure – will people be using their personal Facebook accounts to connect to the business?) where their bosses can see everything.

    I actually had a teacher in middle school who got fired because a student found her Facebook page and found a picture where she was flipping the bird, as they say. I’ve also heard about teachers who have been fired for having pictures of them holding wine glasses and people who were fired for ranting about their bosses on their social media accounts. So I guess the main concern for Facebook is reassuring people that they will still have privacy even if they use Facebook for work.

  7. Great post! I completely agreed with all the benefits you highlighted in the post. In working for a company over the summer that tried to build this infrastructure itself (their own “people network”), I agree that Workplace is revolutionary. The only thing that makes me cautious is something you mentioned in the first sentence; “It is commonly said to keep your personal life out of your work life, but now with social media, this fine line is continually being blurred together.” Many people give push back to this line blurring. So if my company were to begin using Workplace, and my Facebook profile is how I engage on this platform… I may not necessarily want HR or the CEO of my company to be looking at my Facebook profile. It will fortunately make us more aware about what is put online, but that is not always controlled. With Workplace, I would expect a lot of filtering to come into place. But I would still be weary of my company forcing me to use as a business communication tool Facebook.

  8. adamsmea89 · ·

    This was an interesting post! I am skeptical to say that FB Workplace will be a success only because everyone that uses it currently uses it for personal reasons, and I think they will have a hard time accepting it as a tool to use as work as well. I also wonder if people will have privacy concerns with messaging and video conference on FB, because we do know that FB collects a lot of our personal data for advertisements. I think this definitely have potential, but has a long way to go in order for it to really take off.

  9. The idea of leveraging social platforms at work makes sense in theory and Facebook is not the first to head down this path. The problem with enterprise social is that most companies already have a variety of existing communication platforms that duplicate the functionality of enterprise social products. This greats a huge adoption problem. Best bet for enterprise social is target up-and -coming organizations life start-ups. This is where #Slack has taken off.

  10. I confess, I’m super excited by this. I think the enterprise social media has really lagged, and I think FB is the one that can help bring it to the mainstream.

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