As we slowly begin the journey back to normality — and businesses make plans for a working world that will forever be changed — there’s been some positives, too.   We’re closer with our colleagues, for one. We’ve seen their homes, we’ve met their families and we’ve shared really important meetings with our pets.

But most notably, employers are realizing the need to create positive employee experiences. Business leaders are acknowledging that truly connecting with people in remote or hybrid working environments is business critical. And everyone understands that our most essential frontline workers are often those most exposed, and that connecting and supporting them is priority.

We’re proud to have reached 7 million paid subscribers on Workplace — an increase of over 40% in the past year — but it goes way beyond that.

We believe this growth is an indicator that more companies are thinking about how to build communities at work. More conversations around how to create great employee experiences and ultimately — how to connect the unconnected.

It’s a belief we hope our customers share. Customers including Virgin Atlantic, Walmart, Telefónica, BT, Booking.com, Deliveroo, AstraZeneca, Starbucks and Save the Children.

 

The Future of Work and the Future of Workplace 

We believe customers choose Workplace because we’re uniquely positioned to help people create a culture where everyone can share knowledge, work together and build community. And we’ve already built several tools allowing real-time communication, like Live video. We’re making it easier to talk to large groups of people and answer questions with a new Q&A experience.

Last year, like many companies, we were trying to get to grips with the sudden shifts brought on by COVID-19

And other ways to easily connect like Groups and News Feed, and our improved Knowledge Library. We’ve recently launched a new functionality so you can pull content from other platforms into Knowledge Library. Making migration or consolidation easier, and so people can access your most important company content in one place.

In a world of work that will never be the same, we’re also laying the foundation for the next generation of employee experience. We continue to keep building and announcing new features that help business leaders address the evolving needs of employees — everywhere.

Last year, like many companies, we were trying to get to grips with the sudden shifts brought on by COVID-19. So we spent a lot of time building tools to help people thrive in a virtual world. And we built new experiences like Knowledge Library to bring that vision to life.

But as we talked to more and more customers over the last year, we’ve come to realize something else, too. They didn’t just look at Workplace as a solution to the problem of staying connected. They wanted Workplace to help them create a sense of belonging in teams that could no longer be together in person.

And that’s about more than the tools people use. It’s about building a true community where every person feels seen, feels heard and feels valued.

 

A renewed focus on Employee Experience (EX)

These customer conversations make one thing clear: Employees now have new expectations of their leaders and companies. The challenge is how they turn these expectations into a reality. Research from Deloitte from before the pandemic indicated the scale of that challenge when reporting that while 84% of HR leaders say EX is a priority, only 9% of them have a plan.

Now, as remote work becomes hybrid work, employees expect bosses to start making one.

So we asked ourselves, how can Workplace help?

For us, the goal of EX is to make people more connected to their company’s purpose. Because we believe that people with a purpose are more invested in their work. There are many elements involved in achieving that goal, but we believe it all starts by giving companies the tools to engage in meaningful conversations.

That means giving every employee a voice. It means giving managers a way to hear what they’re saying. And it means helping to turn company leaders into influencers so they can communicate effectively with everyone in their team or organization.

So we’re going to start by doubling down on Live video. As leaders looked for better ways to connect with remote teams, they found Live video a useful way to talk to large groups of people and answer questions.

And now we’re making them easier and more dynamic than ever with a new Q&A experience.

 

Key features 

  • Any presenter can click on a question submitted by employees and bring it right into the middle of the screen – for the hosts and for the audience
  • That question card – from the presenters view only – will include the profile information of the employee who’s asked the question so presenters can really personalize their response

These enhancements will make sure that every employee has the opportunity to feel seen and heard by leadership and help people gain a better understanding of how their role contributes to the broader company strategy.

Our commitment to building a world-class platform for engaging company communication doesn’t stop there. We want to make sure people can access Live video from wherever they feel most confident – including other video tools.

Back in December, we announced a partnership with Cisco to help companies that use Webex to broadcast into Workplace.

Today, we’re excited to launch our first  milestone in that partnership. We’re launching an easier to use and more seamless flow from Webex VC to Workplace – allowing hosts to start in Webex and easily broadcast live to their Workplace audience.

Creating rich experiences for people on Workplace isn’t enough. We have to make sure that we’re delivering them to the right places – because reaching people where they are, not just expecting them to come to you, is a key part of the Employee Experience.

Today, we’re excited to announce our new Plugins functionality, allowing you to share content from Workplace onto third-party sites like Microsoft SharePoint in a secure way.

We think this will drive even more engagement with Workplace content by embedding it into the tools your employees use to help improve the discoverability of important information that people need to see.

We’re also delighted to introduce the ability to sync Workplace events with third-party calendars, including Outlook and Gmail.  Employees will now have a consistent view of their important events, in whatever tool they’re using.

 

Knowledge Library APIs

We believe that to truly deliver great employee experience, people need easy access to all the types of information like official company knowledge. Knowledge Library does just that by enabling people to create, find and share company information easily from one place.

And we’re making it even easier. We’ve recently launched new functionality to our APIs so you can pull content from other platforms into Knowledge Library. This makes migration or consolidation of existing intranets easier and helps make sure sure people can access your most important company content in one place.

 

A focus on Diversity and Inclusion

A company becomes a community when people feel like they belong there, and that they can truly be themselves. So we’re encouraging D&I at Workplace by focusing on self-expression and identity.

Starting this month, every employee will be able to include their name pronunciation on their personal profile – and we’ll make sure this shows up in our Live video Q&A experience so leaders can address people properly and make that personal connection.

And we’re bringing new skin colours to our emojis along with the ability to set them as your default option so everybody feels represented.

 

The future of work and the future of Workplace

So that’s a quick look at what Workplace looks like today. But we’re also laying the foundation for the next generation of EX solutions on our platform. We believe Workplace has unique strengths that we’re only just beginning to realize in this new, mixed-mode, more distributed world.

I hope you’re as excited as we are to experience the possibilities and to build connected companies that put people first… together.

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