Employees networks are rising
Don’t mistake employees network and professional network.
The professional network is the proverbial “Rolodex,” built along one’s career. Its first digital expression is the social network LinkedIn.
Employees network are networks you access to because you are employed at a given organization. Until recently, their first digital expression was, at best, emails and, at worst, internal phone directories. But these networks gets ever more “social” too.
Workplace, a new “social” achievement?
Workplace by Facebook is not the first “corporate social network” to hit the market. Digitalizing collaboration at work is a major driver for enterprise software editors. Their social solutions fall into three separate families:
- Socializing a digital tool: With GitHub, you can not only save and share computer code but also improve it collaboratively. InVision allows digital mockup creation and smooth detailed feedbacks from involved collaborators
- Professionalizing a popular communication method: Yammer was at first “Twitter for the enterprise.” Slack reinvented IRC chatrooms to make them relevant for team communication.
- Generalizing corporate digital identity: Email is probably the most popular corporate digital identity tool today. Enterprise software suites provider, such as Microsoft, Salesforce, and Google, all offer wider digital identity management solutions.
Workplace does all this, very well:
- Bringing in the enterprise Facebook communication tools that “everyone” knows and love. Workplace is the answer to a simple issue: Communication in the enterprise lost its technological edge. Tools that employee use to communicate privately are more efficient than the ones they are required to use at work. The consequent frustration should be avoided.
- Giving a digital voice to each employee. Workplace, like Facebook, is very mobile friendly. No computer needed to use it. And no corporate email is required to get a Workplace account. With these features, Workplace can be more than a “white collar” social network, but a digital place where everyone in an organization can be informed and express herself.
- Connecting every digital tool. Workplace provides APIs that allow developers to integrate the activity of other business tools into the platform, making it the digital spine of an organization.
Thousands of companies have already deployed Workplace to connect their employees. Could Workplace also be useful to manage employees networks outside the limits of an organization?
Workplace already offers dedicated groups where employees from different organizations using Workplace can connect.
But cross-company Workplace Groups come with limitations that make it impossible to use them for managing anything else than small teams:
- They are secret by default: You cannot search, share, nor discover them.
- You can only get invited by email: To get in a cross-company Group, you have to communicate your Workplace email to the group administrator who has to send an invitation from the group.
However, cross-company employees networks are not limited to small cross-company project teams.
There is an existing market for networks aiming to connect employees from different organizations:
- “Clubs”: Whether created by a company who wants to help its customers share their experiences, or set up to connect professionals of a given industry or sharing the same function.
- Business intelligence networks: Industry news shared through free or paid newsletters or specific reports created for a given company.
- Any other network of this kind in mind? Don’t hesitate to comment!
Companies that invest resources in these networks want to save and share as efficiently as possible the learnings they get from them.
Could Workplace cross-company Groups become the right tool for this purpose, if a solution solves its limitations?
CrossWorking, Cross-company Workplaces Groupes Directory
The precise CrossWorking experience is still to be defined, depending on the learning of the prototypes (see below), and on the Workplace platform updates that may be announced at the next F8 (login with Workplace maybe?).
The basic principles are clear nonetheless. They address two types of users.
I am the administrator of a Workplace cross-company Group, and I want to promote it
I visit CrossWorking. I create the profile of the group I need to promote.
I now have an URL that I can use to share my group. My group can be discovered by a public search in open to invitation groups.
On my group profile, visitors can request an invitation. I receive requests and can invite users I accept in my group.
My company uses Workplace, and I’m looking for cross-company groups that could be useful for me
I visit CrossWorking directory and consult different categories of groups. A group seems interesting for me. I read its profile and learn about the access conditions.
I decide to request an invitation and fill in the required information.
I get my invitation in Workplace and start interacting with other members on the group’s posts.
Is there a demand for promoting and discovering cross-company Workplace Groups? What kind of groups? What is the behavior of users of such groups?
To get answers, we are setting up two prototypes:
- The Prototypers Publishing Workplace cross-company Group, where you can read and react to Prototypers’ articles, without leaving Workplace. Request your invitation now!
- A soon to be published article listing cross-company Workplace Groups accepting invitation requests. Send us a message to have your group listed in the article.
Looking forward to discussing this subject with other passionate users of Workplace in our cross-company Group (or yours)!
TLDR*: Thousands of companies deployed Workplace to connect their employees. CrossWorking aims to make it easier to build and manage cross-company employees networks on Workplace.
*Too Long, Didn’t Read
Prototypers explore promising technologies and exciting business opportunities to uncover new ideas and give them attention, work, and resources.