Eight questions for Facebook on its Workplace initiative

By Pouyan Broukhim

The world’s largest corporations are increasingly embracing their role as leaders and innovators across the global economy, aiding companies, organizations and communities to reach their aspirations.

Speaking to Julien Codorniou, the Vice President of Workplace by Facebook, we get to grips with one of the social media giant’s own initiatives within this sphere, uncovering the importance of collaboration, communication and social responsibility.

1) In brief, what is Workplace by Facebook?

Workplace by Facebook is a collaboration platform for businesses, allowing colleagues, teams and suppliers to communicate on a single platform.

2) What would you say is the division’s overriding purpose and what are its key goals?

Our overarching purpose, similar to Facebook’s, is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. For Workplace, we are focused on building meaningful communities at work.

3) How does Workplace allow progressive businesses to grow through its collaborative platform?

As organisations grow, so do the number of dispersed employees. Workplace helps companies shape their workforce based on its unique needs and enables a common workspace for business to partner or work together. With Multi-Company Groups, Workplace enables people to collaborate with external teams, partners, suppliers and customers in a secure space, making collaborating across companies much easier. This open communication is key for businesses who are keen to grow.

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4) How far would you say Workplace for Good represents Facebook’s increasing emphasis on social responsibility?

Facebook has a long history working with nonprofits to help them reach new audiences and supporters, and this announcement from Workplace further supports that. This announcement also aligns to Facebook's mission of building communities and Workplace can help organisations build meaningful communities at work.

5) Can you give insight into any key transformational partnership’s where Facebook has worked with non-profit organisations successfully through its Workplace for Good initiative?

  • It Gets Better uses Workplace's super reliable HD video chat to hold weekly meetings to get important updates out to its global affiliate network in over 20 countries with 500 people
  • Vision India Foundation uses a Workplace Group to keep 5,000 alumni and volunteers up to date with campaign news. Having everybody together on Workplace has helped the charity lower organizational costs and cut time spent in meetings.
  • Workplace benefits from the pioneering results that Facebook has achieved in its efforts to make the platform more accessible for people with disabilities. For RNIB, this means screen-reading tools for the 20% of the workforce that is visually impaired.

6) How important is it for firms of Facebook’s stature to recognise the importance of educational and charitable institutes and work to help promote their causes?

Workplace for Good was created because we believe that the greatest work has the greatest purpose. That's why we're helping these organizations build meaningful communities and create change around the world. We also believe that even though these industries may struggle with resources, they should use the same technology that for-profit companies use.

We have also been surprised by the uptake of Workplace in educational and NGO industries, so we're building a team to look after the growth in this area. We have some great heritage in this space already. Current customers include World Wildlife Fund, Comic Relief, Unicef, Save the Children, RNIB, NRC, United Way, It Gets Better, Australian Catholic University and the Miami Dade Public School District.

7) Workplace by Facebook is largely about disrupting technological-empowered communications. How have continual advancements transformed these capabilities in recent years?

The SaaS industry continues to mature and so do customer expectations. At Workplace, we ship and update features weekly to ensure we’re meeting and exceeding this demand. We work hard to provide the most integrated and secure collaboration offering. This is crucial as savvy IT and business decision makers look to best of breed solutions. Employees want tools that are easy to use, easy to understand and work seamlessly on mobile. Everything we do is focused on creating a product that meets these expectations.

8) How is the company further looking to expand Workplace? How do you see the platform expanding in the next five years?

Over the next few years, we are focusing our product development in three main areas. Firstly, on connecting everyone. We are focused on building a product that works for different types of teams, companies and workers. Secondly, we are looking at deeper integrations. We will continue to find ways to integrate with other services that enable simplifying and improving workflows. Finally, we’re looking at connections between companies. No single company is an island – every company has to work with suppliers and agencies. We will continue to reiterate on the ways to improve inter-company collaboration.


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