Earlier this week Workplace by Facebook hosted an event for its customers and likeminded prospects to discuss the power of communication in business.

Workplace, the enterprise connectivity platform by social media giant Facebook, was created in its London Headquarters back in 2016. The platform now boasts over 2 million paid users and aims to reach many more in a variety of industries from beauty to on-demand apps. Its mission is to break down business hierarchies and provide a platform for employees to communicate with one another. 

Today’s workforce is more dispersed than ever, with a significant portion of employees working with customers or products on the frontline, away from company headquarters. The culture and dynamic of the way we work has significantly shifted, and businesses must also approach this change to ensure the entire organisation is connected and everyone has a voice.

Julien Codorniou, VP of Workplace by Facebook told UKTN that he sees the platform as an investment, similar to the way a company would invest in its IT infrastructure. “It’s beyond communications – Facebook is for connecting the world and Workplace is for connecting the world of business.

“It’s for reducing distances between employees and bringing the executive team’s motivation back to the entire company.

“Companies look to work with a business that has the speed of innovation as Facebook, but one that can also be agile enough to meet their needs in the world of work. It’s transformed from a communication layer to the communication layer of a company.”

Codorniou hosted a panel talk with Clarins UK CEO Debbie Lewis who explained that the platform allowed her and her leadership team to not only communicate with the frontline staff, but also create Q&A videos about the business and view updates from employees all around the country. The beauty brand moved to Workplace to strengthen communications between its head office and frontline staff who were previously communicating through WhatsApp.

Workplace by Facebook also conducted a survey of over 4,000 frontline workers and HQ managers in the US and UK to analyse the disconnect between company headquarters and the frontline. The findings included:

Communication breakdown:

  • While 86% of employees feel connected to their direct co-workers, only 14% feel connected to their business HQ
  • Only 22% of employees say their ideas make up a substantial portion of conversation with their bosses, with 52% of managers believing that their employees new ideas are the main topic
  • 95% of business leaders recognise the value of collaboration tools, but only 56% have rolled them out

Silence is stifling:

  • Only 45% of frontline workers share their ideas with senior team members, whereas 90% of managers confidently report that their frontline workers feel empowered to share business ideas with them
  • While 25% of employees have had an idea but never told anyone, a further 38% have shared their idea – only for it to be ignored

Employees with a voice feel valued:

  • 83% of managers confidently claim they give all employees a voice within their business, however 54% claim they feel voiceless
  • 21% of frontline workers say they would consider quitting if they aren’t listened to
  • Only 48% of those without collaboration tools claim their head office understands the role they perform and the value they bring vs 63% of those with collaboration tools

Karandeep Anand, Vice President at Workplace by Facebook added: “Collaboration tools are crucial in connecting the unconnected and ensuring everyone has a voice.

“There is a serious communications failure between managers and frontline workers which is inhibiting innovation and creativity. Some workers may be deskless, but they should not be voiceless.”