Workplace by Facebook recently hosted its first “Transform” event for 2019, a conference designed to bring people together the collaboration in the workplace, and show them how they can communicate, collaborate and connect more effectively with the right unifying tools. Hrtech
The Transform 2019 event offered attendees a chance to learn from the Workplace by Facebook community, which now totals more than 2 million paid users around the world, offering a chance to hear from numerous companies, including Clarins UK, Telefonica and more. The conference also featured insights from Chief Workplace Officers and leaders introducing pioneering new ways of working. These spokespeople presented the impact that Workplace has already made in their companies and showcased how they anticipate that it will make a significant difference in the years to come too.
I caught up with Geoff Perfect, the Global Sales Director at Workplace by Facebook, to learn as much as I could about the outcomes of the event, and where the collaboration app is heading next.
Your Perception of the Team Collaboration Market Today?
The recent Transform event hosted by Workplace by Facebook allowed the company to evaluate the marketplace more carefully and consider the kind of response that audience members are having to collaboration as a new business opportunity. Geoff told me that he thinks that the collaboration space has moved out of “experimental” mode, but it hasn’t reached rapid adoption just yet.
“I think we’re in the education phase. Big corporations like the Starbucks and Walmart’s of the world are helping the market to grow, and they’re offering insights into what can be done with collaboration too. Other news like the Slack IPO is also opening people’s minds to the fact that there are other ways of collaborating in the workforce today outside of the Microsoft monopoly.”
Perfect noted that the Googles and the Apples of the world have proven how ventures can enter the B2B market and turn things on their heads. Collaboration tools can have the same impact, and Workplace by Facebook is just one of the solutions leading the way, with about 2 million users on the platform today. The fact that the Transform event attracted so many high-value speakers and attendees, including Managing Director of Clarins UK, Debbie Lewis, and Director of Digital Comms at Telefonica, Aitor Govenechea, is a testament to the company’s growth.
What Collaboration Trends Do You See Among Large Enterprises?
Since Workplace by Facebook has such a valuable overview of the marketplace, I was keen to find out what Geoff thought about the emerging trends in collaboration among large enterprises. He told me that that the disconnected workplace seems to be a common issue for everyone these days, and that there’s a whole world of workers out there beyond the internal office.
“The people that are delivering the most intimate customer experiences are usually the ones that are the most disconnected from the rest of the team. They’re working in environments outside of the office, so businesses need to work harder to make these people feel like a connected part of the culture.”
According to Geoff, it’s not just about giving these front-line workers and remote employees their own corporate email address, or a breakroom in the back of the office. Instead, company leaders need to think about changing the culture by introducing a tool that really helps everyone to connect more efficiently.
“If you can get everyone feeling better because they’re more connected, then you end up with a better culture, greater productivity, and improved performance”
Perfect also noted that a happy workforce where everyone can work intuitively together also leads to better customer experiences too. When the people who are leading the way for customer experience are the most disconnected, it’s essential to ensure they can stay part of the group.
Are Frontline and Remote Workers a Big Trend?
One thing that Geoff noticed during the Transformation event is that more companies are looking for ways to expand their collaboration strategy. There are more people involved in a team than people realise, and it’s not just the back-end office team and internal employees. Collaboration needs to spread out to everyone in the organisation. “This is one of the key chasm-crossers that we need to deal with. If we can bring more people together from every environment, then collaboration technology will start to be adopted more rapidly across the B2B space. It’s not just the inside that needs to stay connected.”
According to Geoff, volunteerism is another area that has been missing out on collaboration opportunities up until now. Volunteers need to access collaborative tools just like anyone else, and Facebook has been doing some research into their Workplace for Good solution lately. The Workplace for Good offering for non-profit and charity companies has been available for a year, supporting the people who are usually the last to get their hands on new technology.
“Volunteers have crucial connectivity requirements that are often overlooked by many organisations. We’ve seen a huge uptake in that space”