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CONNECTIONS

An Edelman perspective on making meaningful
employee connections that deepen engagement,
build trust and accelerate business performance.

FEBRUARY 2015

IS FACEBOOK AT WORK RIGHT FOR YOUR COMPANY?
10 TIPS FOR ENGAGING EMPLOYEES VIA ENTERPRISE SOCIAL NETWORKS
BY CHRISTOPHER HANNE GAN, EVP, EMPLOYEE E NGAGEMENT

Facebook recently announced the pilot debut of Facebook at Work, the “work-friendly version of
Facebook” that is separate from employees’ outside-the-office personal accounts. It’s a workplacefocused collaborative platform that allows colleagues to communicate through a web interface or
mobile app, instead of by email or their personal Facebook accounts. Facebook at Work is positioned
to compete head-to-head with enterprise social networks such as Yammer, Slack, Convo, and
Socialcast.
HOW IT WORKS
A company must first sign up to make Facebook at Work available to their employees. Then,
employees’ profiles – which are separate from their personal ones – will automatically include
information provided by their employer (such as name, job title and work contact info). The app looks
and feels the same as Facebook’s normal platform but uses a completely separate login; plus, it does
not feature ads and will not track users or hold onto their data.
Once inside Facebook at Work, employees see a feed of “what’s new and relevant at your company”
and can use the familiar Messages and Groups functionality to chat, plan meetings and manage
projects. Generally anything posted via Facebook at Work is public to the entire company – there are
no granular privacy controls yet.
THE POTENTIAL OF FACEBOOK AT WORK
This latest enterprise social networking platform offers three advantages over others:
1. Ease of use: It looks and feels just like personal Facebook, so users will immediately be
comfortable with the product – there is no learning curve whatsoever.
2. Filtering of work conversations: Facebook says it will use filtering methods similar to personal
Facebook, so people you interact with frequently will show up at the top of your news feed.
3. Brand advocacy potential: It’s extremely easy to share between your work and personal
Facebook, theoretically making it easy for employees to share news and information about
their company to their own social networks.

But there are also some watch-outs for this particular platform communicators should bear in mind:


Privacy: Will too much be shared internally with broad groups? how will leaders and employees
adjust to this new dynamic?
Adoption outside the US: Will Facebook at Work be adopted in markets with stricter work/life
boundaries (such as western Europe) or in countries where access is blocked altogether?
User error: Because it’s so easy to switch back and forth between personal and work
Facebook, it’s inevitable that employees will mistakenly post personal items to their work
account. Are companies and employees ready to deal with the potential fallout from blurring
this boundary?

MAKING IT STICK
If you determine that Facebook at Work (or indeed, any other enterprise social network) is worth
further exploration, keep the following tips in mind to ensure a successful launch and sustainment:
1. Make sure it’s right for your culture. If your organization is very top-down, conservative and
traditional in terms of engaging and empowering employees, it’s likely that any collaboration
platform will have difficulty succeeding.
2. Create a solid use case. When enterprise social networks succeed, it’s usually because a clear
desired business goal was articulated from the beginning. Examples of use cases include
increasing collaboration within or across business units, building relationships between
workforces when companies merge and making it easier to manage knowledge.
3. Be prepared for positive disruption. Radical ideas, dissenting opinions and comments straight out
of left field are the hallmarks of a successful virtual conversation. Be ready for such disruption by
determining upfront how you will address negative comments.
4. Plan ahead. Take the time to appropriately outline a strategy and secure buy-in for your business
case, as well as principles for moderating difficult conversations.
5. Recruit your influencers. Invite early adopters and those with significant organizational influence
to participate in a pilot. Include leaders and “social connectors” to drive conversation as
facilitators and encourage others to participate.

For more information, please contact Edelman Employee
Engagement at employee.engagement@edelman.com.
For more information, please contact Edelman Employee Engagement
at EmployeeEngagement@edelman.com.

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6. Organize initial conversations around central themes. Post several provocative questions on one
specific theme (known as a “jam”) to initiate dialogue, and be clear about the desired outcome of
the conversation.
7. Moderate lightly. Facebook’s popularity stems from its “for the people, by the people” origins.
Facilitate conversations, pose questions, corral off-topic or inappropriate comments, but do not
censor with a heavy hand.
8. Reward engagement. Consider using incentives and gamification to encourage participation (i.e.,
tapping the most active participants to present their ideas to senior leaders).
9. Encourage sharing. Make it easy for employees to invite others to join the conversation and share
content across other social channels, whether via their personal Facebook account or other
channels.
10. Think about measurement and feedback. Analyze conversations to understand perceptions, the
most engaging subject areas, organizational barriers and new opportunities. Facebook at Work
can be a great tool for gathering pulse check feedback or simply “listening” to the mood of the
organization.
THE BOTTOM LINE FOR COMMUNICATORS
Perhaps the most important thing for communicators is to avoid falling in love with a specific
platform: It’s about starting with objectives and knowing your internal audiences, then picking the
platform that will help you deliver those objectives. But at a minimum, I believe every communicator
owes it to their CEO to investigate new platforms as they debut, Facebook at Work included.
ABOUT US
Edelman’s Employee Engagement Practice helps organizations accelerate business performance,
delivered by highly engaged and trusted employees. We do this by making meaningful, trust-building
connections — connecting employees with the company, connecting employees with each other, and
connecting employees with the outside world. We have a global network of employee engagement
specialists who can develop engagement strategy; deploy the tools and processes to deliver it; create
the multimedia channels and content that support it; and design the insight mechanisms to measure
it. For more information, visit us at ee.edelman.com, follow us on Twitter at @EdelmanEE or email us
at employee.engagement@edelman.com.

For more information, please contact Edelman Employee
Engagement at employee.engagement@edelman.com.
For more information, please contact Edelman Employee Engagement
at EmployeeEngagement@edelman.com.

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