Workplace by Facebook

5 Myths about Workplace by Facebook – What’s Rumor and What Works

You’ve signed a license deal for Workplace by Facebook for your organization. The platform’s familiarity quickly gained support from IT, which favored its stellar usability. They look forward to a fast deployment, with little-to-no training for employees. At least, that’s what you were told. (Don’t worry; Workplace is great. You just need to make sure you understand all it takes to get the most business value out of the platform.)

It’s time to dispel common myths, like this one, that we hear often about Workplace. Our hunch is that the rumors were likely construed by individuals with little experience in building communities that are successful for the long run. This is Talk Social to Me’s wheelhouse; we’ve been in the business of building employee communities for more than a decade.

Many of these myths can be addressed with the right approach, and a thoughtful, strategic implementation of Workplace.

Myth #1 – “We don’t need to provide Workplace by Facebook training.” 

Of course you need to provide training – very specific training. Employees may know how Workplace functions because they are familiar with Facebook’s interface, but they need further guidance on how to use the platform for work purposes. You can train employees through short videos and guides, or in-person conversations during pre-shift meetings.

Group leaders and team managers will need a different, specific kind of training on how to effectively engage people in a digital format. How do you spark conversation? How do you address unsavory topics? What about protected speech? You will need to empower them with the “right” way to work in Workplace, both with the nuances of the tool and the nuances of social behavior at work.

Senior leaders and executives may think they don’t have time for Workplace, let alone training, but don’t be fooled. Their engagement on Workplace is critical to unlocking full business benefits. To ensure their posts and interactions on Workplace are strategic, we recommend a customized coaching session with your leader.

Myth #2 – “We should launch Workplace to everyone in two weeks and figure out our use cases later.”

While we don’t advocate for an unnecessarily slow introduction that’s rooted in fear, it’s a really bad idea to open the floodgates to tens of thousands of people without an engagement plan. Be thoughtful. Design your group structure. Create and shape use cases before you go live, because this is the single most effective (and easy!) way to demonstrate “what’s in it for me?” to everybody else. Is the goal to increase employee engagement? Is it to help save time finding information? Is it to make employees feel more connected? Articulate it. Oh, and make sure you talk to all of your employees, including those in the field as well as at the home office. Learn what it’s like to experience a work day in their shoes before pushing a “new way of working” to someone who thinks their way of working is perfectly fine. How you market this to employees matters.

You’ll need more than two weeks to do it right, although other partners might tell you differently, given their 1-2 week “Blueprint” service.  Mindy Grossman, CEO of WW (formerly Weight Watchers) shared about the company’s two-week 96% Workplace adoption at Transform. This is definitely an edge case, and the executive doesn’t know all of the pre-launch work it took internal communications to get there.

Myth #3 – “If we launch Workplace, employees will just come.”

Hitting send on the initial invitation email, and hosting a launch event might be enough to get your employees to log into Workplace – once; maybe twice if you’re lucky. You need to have a Workplace strategy in place that motivates employees want to return on a monthly, weekly, and hopefully daily basis. What’s in it for them?

If Workplace is just another channel for Communications to post their companywide announcements, are employees really going to return to the platform more than monthly to read updates? You need to help those who are people managers to transition their actual daily work and communications onto the platform. This is how you’ll ensure the momentum keeps going.

Myth #4 – “Workplace is the Communications Team’s responsibility. Our department doesn’t need to get involved after it’s implemented.”

Workplace shouldn’t just fall on the list of miscellaneous duties that the Communications Team is responsible for managing. A cross-functional team that advocates both for your employees and the leadership during the implementation journey should manage Workplace. It makes perfect sense for the Chief Workplace Officer, or leader tasked with managing this cross-functional team or operations excellence committee, to have a strong communications, however. Neutral partnerships create the best outcomes – and the strongest communities give everyone a seat at the table, from IT to Communications to HR.

Myth #5 – “Workplace is a waste of time. We don’t care about employees’ cats or what they had for lunch.”

This could be the case at your organization – if you don’t have a Workplace strategy, and if nobody is actively managing the platform. Workplace requires real behavioral change to be used collaboratively. Most organizations we’ve worked with lasso “social” posts into a handful or less of optional non-work groups, like “Pets of Acme Corp.” Research shows social groups are often a gateway to more collaborative behaviors in employee communities, as they connect employees in nontraditional ways. Plus, they afford a way for “out of touch” leaders to humanize themselves outside of official companywide updates. The CEO might get major likeability points if they share a photo of their precious pooch.

Ultimately, Workplace, like every enterprise social network, has its strengths and weaknesses. Keep your organization’s goals in the forefront as you introduce the platform to your employees. Make sure “work” is the focus (versus “likes” and “comments”) when conversing about Workplace with leaders. Get outside your comfort zone and partner with leaders from various disciplines. Finally, be prepared to put in continuous, consistent work.

GIF sourced from giphy.com

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