How White Labs Uses Workplace by Facebook During Company Expansion

3 takeaways from Community Engagement Bootcamp

Whether it’s introducing a new product, conducting an acquisition or expanding a brand’s footprint, it’s not rare for companies to experience growing pains. White Labs, an international yeast fermentation company based in San Diego, is no exception.

“It’s a stressful time,” said Julia Miller, human resources assistant.

The company is opening an East Coast production facility in Asheville, N.C. that will have full yeast production capabilities, an analytical lab, packaging, shipping and receiving, administrative offices, training rooms for educational classes and along with it will come a tasting room, and the company’s first restaurant. It means more demand on the human resources, marketing and executive teams, in particular.

It’s an example of why Miller, who participated in Talk Social to Me’s four-part Community Engagement Bootcamp, aims to use Facebook Workplace as a space to break up the workday’s monotony.

Sometimes we get so caught up in what we have to do during the week.
— Julia Miller

White Labs programmed a Pi Day celebration last month using Facebook Workplace to encourage employees from different departments to be PieFace! Showdown game participants. Employees also were encouraged to participate with their March Madness bracket on the platform. Basketball games were streamed in its San Diego tasting room, which allowed employees to follow along.

“It broke up what we were doing,” Miller said.

That’s not to say White Labs doesn’t use Workplace as a space to communicate more traditional business information. That’s the “usual norm” of the account, which launched in November 2016, Miller said.

The company’s marketing team, tasked with communicating the East Coast production facility expansion internally and externally, is extremely active on the platform. But before Talk Social to Me’s Community Engagement Bootcamp, Miller said sometimes it resulted in administrators making “blanket statements” to all employees.

Millers’ Top Three Takeaways from TSTM’s Community Engagement Bootcamp:

Julia Miller, human resources assistant at White Labs

Julia Miller, human resources assistant at White Labs

1. Planning is essential to really drive business strategy.

Work with different divisions of the company - legal, human resources, executive team, to cover all bases - in creating a community manifesto. Incorporate existing programs into the platform.

White Labs recently integrated aspects of its employee recognition program into Workplace. Employees were encouraged to nominate those who represent one of the company’s core values for its quarterly Core Values Awards program. Nominations previously happened through email.

2. Give people the freedom to bring what they want to the table.

Miller said it’s healthy to have a mix between “work” and “play” in Workplace. “How can we be better because of what’s going on outside of work and how can we become better because of what’s happening at work?” she said.

A member of our lab team posted a ‘Who wore it best?’ poll when she noticed two employees wearing the same Hawaiian shirt. She quickly posted in on the Team San Diego page and created a poll. Our CEO happened to be in the office that day and walked into our brewery coincidentally wearing the same shirt as well. What started as a simple post to highlight a twinning moment turned into three members of our team campaigning with other employees to vote for them. We had every member of our San Diego team vote and the three members wearing the same shirt took turns going live to plead their cases as to why they deserved to win. It was a simple and fun way that broke up the monotony of the news feed at the time and emphasized something fun in place of a more serious business-like post that is the usual norm.
— Julia Miller


3. Frame information for your audience.

Go beyond using Workplace as a broadcasting platform. Think of how to cater communications to different groups of people instead of “making blanket statements and assuming what people are thinking of it,” Miller said.

I feel like all of it was an ‘AHA’ moment.
— Julia Miller, of Talk Social To Me's Community Engagement Bootcamp

TSTM’s Community Engagement Bootcamp taught participants how to kick employee engagement into high gear through a series of four interactive webinars, weekly homework exercises, and online access to experts providing personalized help.

For more information about how Talk Social To Me can help with your online community, reach out at