Facebook Goes to Work: Does That Work for You?

It’s a pretty good bet that most organizations would like to get Facebook out of their employees’ daily work life. People should be finishing TPS reports instead of sharing cat videos and inspirational song lyrics while they’re on the clock, right? Well, it looks like Facebook is trying to do the opposite, and become an integral part of your work day.

Attitudes toward public social media have clearly softened over the years. The last time Brandon Hall Group asked about it, in our 2014 Social and Collaborative Learning Study, fewer than 20% of companies either discouraged or prohibited access to sites like Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin. That’s down from nearly 30% in 2012.

Does that mean companies are welcoming social media platforms with open arms? Not exactly. There is still a stigma of time-wasting attached to it. Twitter and Linkedin have found their niches in the business world and companies are using them accordingly, but Facebook has still been seen as frivolous and personal. Until now.

Enter Facebook Work. Yes, I’m sure Mark Zuckerberg stayed up several nights developing the name. The platform is essentially an app (mobile and web) that allows employees to collaborate and communicate. Brandon Hall Group has been doing research on enterprise social networking for years, and clearly companies have been trying a multitude of solutions, even though most simply default to SharePoint or Yammer. Why these? Because companies recognize and trust Microsoft. Facebook is about to bring that kind of name brand recognition to full-on enterprise social networking.

Creative nomenclature aside, Facebook Work signals something that companies should pay very close attention to. Even if your company isn’t sure that social/collaborative tools are necessary or effective, Facebook is. Zuckerberg and company are betting on the light at the end of the email tunnel, and they want to be the default way companies communicate internally.

If companies can get past Facebook’s pure entertainment past, and their private data-mining present, they should see some strong adoption as just about everyone is familiar with Facebook. Being able to share and communicate with colleagues in the same way we do with family and friends could be a huge selling point.

Those of you working for companies that are still waiting for social media to go the way of the pet rock should see this for what it is – the loudest shot yet in the burgeoning enterprise social networking wars.

-David Wentworth, Senior Learning Analyst,
Brandon Hall Group

David Wentworth

David Wentworth has been a senior research analyst in the human capital field since 2005 and joined the Brandon Hall Group in 2013. He has authored reports and articles on various human capital subjects with an emphasis on workforce technology. He has contributed to several reports published by ASTD, including authoring Mobile Learning: Learning in the Palm of Your Hand, The Rise of Social Media: Enhancing Collaboration and Productivity Across Generations, and Instructional Systems Design Today and in the Future. His work has also appeared in Compensation & Benefits Review and T+D Magazine.

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