With many countries currently experiencing at least some form of lockdown, businesses are waist-deep in uncharted waters. Companies large and small have had to transform rapidly as they attempt to continue operating, while keeping their employees safe. Yet many organizations are encountering a host of new challenges.
To support its customers through this unprecedented time, Facebook has been listening to feedback across industries and regions. What Facebook has learnt is that organisations most urgently need support in two main areas:
– Communicating critical information with their entire business in real-time, and making sure this content, both dynamic and static, is now easily accessible to everyone
– Ensuring employees across the organisation feel supported and listened to as they grapple with the impact of the virus on their work and personal lives
To this effect, Facebook has announced several new features to help businesses better manage the impact of the pandemic. These reflect the feedback Facebook has received and is all geared towards enabling remote working and supporting essential workers who cannot work remotely, now and in the future.
Says Vicky Skipp, head of growth ANZ, Workplace from Facebook: “COVID-19 has drastically changed the way Australian businesses operate as they try to navigate through remote working journeys. Our customers are constantly looking for new ways to keep their workforce connected and to ensure their employees feel supported while working remotely. Businesses can support their employees during the pandemic by ensuring remote work policies are easily accessible, regularly checking in on employee morale, or finding ways to help colleagues show solidarity while apart. The features we’re launching today are aimed at helping workers connect with each other, receive the information they need and most importantly keeping them safe during this time of remote working.”
Facebook will continue to focus on these areas over the coming months, as well as investing heavily in enabling better team collaboration and powerful video calling experiences. Facebook will share more on its strategy over the coming weeks.
Better information sharing
One of, if not the, biggest challenges for organisations in a remote working world is being able to effectively share accurate, real-time information with employees.
Employers have a huge responsibility to keep employees up to date to ensure they’re supported, safe and know what procedures to follow. Simultaneously, company leaders want to make sure their updates are helpful to employees, and that people are feeling heard and supported.
Knowledge Library: A home for static content on Workplace
The average employee wastes over 9 hours a week searching for critical company information like health and safety guidance or benefits information. Facebook wanted to build a solution to fix this, to make official company knowledge, and static content in general, easily accessible to everybody at the moment they need it most. After all, it shouldn’t be hard or stressful to find the latest on a HR policy.
So Facebook is launching Knowledge Library, the new home for key company resources on Workplace. Knowledge Library is a single place to create, store and share static content like working from home advice or HR and expenses policies, so employees can discover and easily access the information they need at home or on the go.
And because it sits on the platform your employees are already using to communicate with each other and get work done, it finally brings your static and dynamic information together in one, easy to update place.
Knowledge Library is playing a critical role in helping XPO Logistics manage emergency logistics for the City of New York – ensuring employees have access to official information on a platform they’re already using.
Virgin Atlantic has also begun trialing Knowledge Library a few weeks ago. This is what Steve Clarke, senior manager, communication channels, at Virgin Atlantic had to say about it: “We were able to deploy Knowledge Library in under a day to make sure our employees could stay informed about COVID-19. We use it to provide details on government regulations, as well as specific policies and FAQs related to Virgin Atlantic.
“We also provide support resources for employees. Knowledge Library helps us keep formal information centralised, while Groups are for sharing real-time news and keeping employee spirits high.”
Head to Facebook’s dedicated Knowledge Library page to learn more.
Another issue many organisations told Facebook they’ve been struggling with is adjusting their internal communications processes to accommodate a remote workforce and an increased volume of updates.
Businesses are finding that many of the mechanisms that worked fine when colleagues and leaders were located in the same building have become inefficient now that they aren’t. To help streamline the process, Facebook has launched Draft for, a feature that allows individuals to draft posts on behalf of executives who can subsequently review, approve and publish. Facebook believes this will help streamline accurate information sharing, while bringing together voices across the organisation.
The final feature Facebook is introducing as part of its strategy to enable better internal communication is Campaigns.
Campaigns allow for tracking audience reach and engagement across a group of posts. This includes sentiment metrics, which can help businesses identify the content that’s most helpful to people so they can create more of it.
For instance, with Campaigns businesses can publish multiple posts on COVID-19 or ‘working from home’ then look at the impact on employee morale to ensure they’re providing the most relevant information. Campaigns will be available in May.
Supporting employee wellbeing
Facebook’s second priority is making it easier for distributed companies to listen to their people, provide feedback opportunities and focus on wellbeing.
Everyone has been impacted in some way by the pandemic. Facebook wants Workplace to provide a space for leaders and colleagues alike to listen and support each other. The organisations that get this right today will have a lasting and positive impact on their workforce.
With this in mind, Facebook has expanded the capabilities of Safety Check on Workplace by introducing Safety Alerts. This enables organisations to send standalone alerts providing updates or context on an incident without requiring a response. Safety Alerts can be used for any important safety updates, not just drills or crises.
Alerts are already being used by our beta testers to keep employees informed of the evolving guidance during COVID-19.
Facebook has also created a new type of post – Q&A posts. These are designed to help organisations understand what’s important to employees, and to enable quick feedback.
People will be able to add and upvote questions, ensuring the top concerns across the organisation get the attention they deserve.
Care Reaction and Profile Frames
Finally, Facebook is introducing a new Care Reaction and Profile Frames in order to help those separated by the pandemic feel closer to their colleagues.
The new Facebook Care Reaction – an emoji hugging a heart – is coming to Workplace to help colleagues show care and support when responding to a post, message, photo or video. Profile Frames are a new set of work-from-home-themed frames that can be overlayed on your existing profile picture to help people be apart together.
Showcase your support with an ‘Apart Together’ frame, or signal the balance you need to strike with a ‘Work from Home Parent’ frame. Each is aimed at creating a greater understanding amongst colleagues.
Q&A posts are available today, Care Reaction and Profile Frames will be available to our customers in May and Safety Alerts will be rolling out in June.
This is just the first set of features Facebook has developed to help Workplace communities with the urgent priorities they’re facing today.