Eight questions for Facebook on its Workplace initiative
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.
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.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.