Secrets of the world’s best Workplace networks revealed

At SWOOP we’ve recently conducted the world’s largest-ever analysis of Workplace by Facebook networks, examining 68 organisations worldwide who opted into SWOOP’s benchmarking.

The analysis represents more than 630,000 users over a six-month period, a significant proportion of Workplace’s two million paid users, and more than 15 million online interactions, across a breadth of industry sectors and geographies.

We spoke with the top eight performing organisations to learn their best practices and share their secrets to success.

These best practices include:

  • Early engagement from senior leaders and executives, ensuring front line staff feel connected with their leaders.
  • A community manager to facilitate Workplace at launch and create a network of “champions” to oversee their groups and ensure staff are engaged.
  • Making Workplace part of everyday work so everyone in the organisation can benefit from conversations and knowledge sharing and innovation. No more all-company emails, instead share news on Workplace.
  • Engaging with what staff are passionate about, sometimes in the form of social groups.
  • Give it time. Most organisations say it takes between six and 12 months to see cultural changes after successfully implementing Workplace.
  • Underpin everything with analytics to measure success, benchmark leaders and groups, track campaigns, see who is connecting with whom.

In this article, we’ve included an example of each of these best practices from the top performers in the benchmarking. You’ll come across many more examples of these practices when you read case studies from all of the SWOOP Award winners.

Early engagement from senior leaders and executives, ensuring front line staff feel connected with their leaders

At insurance provider Ageas UK, staff endured the hottest summer on record in England. In response to suggestions made on Workplace from employees, Ageas’ executive team decided to relax the company dress code to make life a little more comfortable for until the temperatures began to drop.

Like all company announcements at Ageas, the relaxed summer dress code was reported on the company’s Workplace network. It was meet with a flurry of discussion, some in favour and some opposed.

Ageas’ Internal Communications Manager Kirsty Walden said the main emotion people expressed was gratitude to the executive for not making them suffer in the heat outside of the air-conditioned offices.

With the dry, sweltering conditions continuing for weeks on end, Ageas employees asked on Workplace if this relaxed dress code should become a permanent thing.

The executive team listened and decided to take it to a vote and a new policy was introduced called Dress for Your Day.

“It would just never have happened before Workplace, we would never have had our executive team directly taking onboard feedback, and having such a representative sample of feedback, and everybody in different functions and offices contributing to the discussion or the debate,” Kirsty said.

“This is a really good example of where Workplace has started to change our culture, without us really realising it.”

SWOOP data shows Ageas UK chief executive Andy Watson is one of the most active and visible users on Workplace. He regularly joins conversations, does live videos on Workplace and posts updates.

The Dress for Your Day policy is a perfect example of leaders listening to staff and connecting with them on Workplace. It shows a cultural shift of listening to employees, and employees feeling heard, that would not be possible without a platform like Workplace.

Do your frontline staff feel connected with their leaders through interactions on Workplace? Is your CEO and senior leadership regularly active on Workplace? As little as five minutes a day can have a huge impact.

A community manager to facilitate Workplace at launch and create a network of “champions” to oversee their groups and ensure staff are engaged

One of the first things Customer Success Network (CSN) did when it launched its Workplace network to customer success managers across Europe and the Middle East was to find Community Ambassadors for the network. These ambassadors are passionate people who are willing to effectively act as community managers for their groups.

With SWOOP, CSN was able to identify potential ambassadors by using the “Most Influential People” widget and keep them engaged by encouraging them to check SWOOP to monitor the success of their posts and groups.

Violaine Yziquel, CSN’s Head of Community Engagement.

“Our Ambassadors are all volunteers, who help community manage in their spare time,” said Violaine Yziquel, CSN’s Head of Community Engagement.

“They commit to building value in the community, but don’t know the impact they are making. With SWOOP they can gauge the success of initiatives they take.”

Violaine said the Ambassadors are encouraged to make one post a week in their group but, more importantly, they are asked to ensure all posts have replies. Almost every group on the network has at least three posts a day so there is little need for more content if conversations are happening organically.

“We built the community with people who were as passionate about what we were doing as we were,” she said.

“These 50-odd ambassadors are very active and not only contribute content, but also build the tone of the culture we want to have in our community.”

Do you have a dedicated role assigned to facilitating Workplace across the Enterprise? If so, are they supported by volunteer Workplace champions from across the business?

Making Workplace part of everyday work so everyone in the organisation can benefit from conversations, knowledge sharing and innovation. No more all-company emails, instead share news on Workplace

AMP New Zealand kicked off its Workplace network when CEO Blair Vernon sent an all company email saying this was his last email of the kind, it’s time to head to Workplace.

Two years later, he remains the most influential person on the network, listening to his employees, asking them questions and cheering them on.

AMP NZ CEO, Blair Vernon.

At AMP NZ, Workplace has become a place where employees share their stories, recognise their colleagues and it’s influencing company culture.

Ben Mabon, Communications Manager at AMP, said Blair’s last all-company email effectively gave staff permission to work on Workplace and launched the network across the organisation.

“The CEO sent out an email saying; ‘This is it, this is the last email you’re going to get from me. If you want to know what’s going on, get onto Workplace’,” Ben said.

“That was it and the rest is history. We basically just shut off broadcast email and other digital internal communications channels. We shifted everything onto Workplace. We thought if it worked, and people liked it, we’d stick with it.”

Ben said Blair immediately recognised the real benefit of Workplace and how it would improve communication, collaboration and engagement with AMP’s people.

“When you’ve got a CEO who fundamentally believes in the importance of quality communication and collaboration and embraces and encourages new ways of doing things, then it gives you a mandate to go forward and make good things happen,” he said.

Is Workplace a part of your employees’ everyday work? Do you still send ‘all company’ emails?

Engaging with what staff are passionate about, sometimes in the form of social groups

SWOOP data has revealed the most engaging posts on the Australian Catholic University’s (ACU) Workplace network tend to be those about people.

A post on ACU’s Workplace network.

“Using SWOOP, we realised content that was people-focused performed well and attracted a lot of engagement,” said ACU’s Director of Marketing and External Relations, Kathy Vozella.

“People really liked engaging with content about staff movements, such as promotions, new people joining teams, or staff leaving the organisation. Likewise, posts that offered recognition or praise to a team or individual also attract a lot of attention.”

Based on this knowledge, the Internal Communications team developed a staff profile series.

Every fortnight a short video is published on Workplace featuring an employee answering four questions about themselves: What was your first job? Who is someone you really admire? What is your biggest achievement? What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

While the profile series can be used to promote initiatives and activities that the featured staff member is involved in, there’s a strong personal focus.

“It’s really about the individual,” Kathy said.

ACU’s Staff Movements Announcement group was one of the top performing groups among the 1,360 benchmarked.

Global creative agency We Are Social encouraged social groups from the start after launching Workplace.

Special interest groups include everything from a ‘We are sneakerheads’ (a sneaker appreciation group) to ‘We are holidaying’.

“We’ve got a nice balance that has a real business use but also there’s quite a lot of fun that happens on there,” said Global Internal Communications Director, Emma Cumming.

“It’s a nice mixture of work and play on the platform which very much aligns to our culture.”

Do you encourage or discourage social groups on Workplace? Do you have at least one social (non-work) group in your top 10 most active that is public and spans the whole enterprise? Do you know the top three topics that staff were most passionate about in the past 12 months?

Give it time. Most organisations say it takes between six and 12 months to see cultural changes after successfully implementing Workplace

At global travel agency Flight Centre, Americas President, Dean Smith, sent a final email to an all-company distribution list called “Everybody, Everywhere”.

“Dean said; ‘This is it, this is the last email you’re ever going to see from me. Goodbye Everybody, Everywhere. If you want to see anything I ever have to say, you’re going to have to make sure you’re on Workplace and in my group’,” said Flight Centre’s Director Transformational Change, Donna Hanson.

In Canada, Vice President of Leisure, Gavin Miller, followed suit.

A post from a social group on Flight Centre’s Workplace network

A decision was made for many communications with staff to be exclusively on Workplace. If you want to find out about company benefits such as Healthwise or Moneywise, learn how to get trips consultants can take advantage of or airline deals for staff, you do so only on Workplace.

“At the end of the day, we’re at a point where the only place you’re going to find information, like benefits, is on Workplace so if you’re not active, you’re going to miss out on a lot of things,” Donna said.

But she said even with two top executives leading the charge and information being exclusively on Workplace, adoption didn’t happen overnight. Donna says it took a good six months to get Workplace off the ground and another six months for it really become part of the company culture.

Donna credits the network’s strength to Dean’s engagement.

“Dean staying very true and not budging, it is 100 per cent the reason that it came off as well as it did,” she said.

“It still took a while. It’s not like this happened overnight but it definitely was the driving force.”

SWOOP data shows Dean is the most influential person on Flight Centre’s Workplace network of 24,580 users across the globe. Gavin is also among the most influential people.

Have you put in six months work on making Workplace successful? Do you know who are your best ‘Catalysts’, the ones who can accelerate adoption and engagement?

Underpin everything with analytics to measure success, benchmark leaders and groups, track campaigns, see who is connecting with whom

Australian state government agency Service NSW began using SWOOP after it was recommended by other NSW government departments who were SWOOP customers.

Workplace by Service NSW chief executive officer Damon Rees led the charge from the start by engaging on Workplace and asking questions of his employees. But not all leaders were as enthusiastic.

Juliette Peshevski, Internal Communications Manager at Service NSW, used SWOOP to benchmark leaders and show them their SWOOP Persona, advising they should be Engagers or Catalysts.

“Our executive leadership team here is really engaged and is on Workplace using it a lot and they want to know the impact they’re having,” Juliette said.

Benchmarking leaders with SWOOP also revealed those who needed some nudging to connect with staff.

Emma, from We Are Social, also benchmarked her global leadership team leaders with SWOOP.

“They are a competitive group so it’s good to be able to share their personal SWOOP data to show how effective they are versus their counterparts,” she said.

“It also gave us the opportunity to share some of the behaviours and recommendations to improve their (SWOOP) persona or visibility on the platform.

“Before SWOOP, we had a very basic name and shame system, based on whether they had posted in the last month, whereas this gave us a lot more granularity around how they behave and interact on the platform.”

Emma is planning on encouraging all employees to log onto SWOOP to see their own Persona.

“SWOOP aligns more to the type of data we would look at for our clients,” Emma said.

“It’s less about who’s accessing it, it’s more about the quality of the conversations.”

With SWOOP, Australian Catholic University has identified areas with lower engagement and is working with those team leaders to support or educate them to consider different use cases for Workplace that would deliver results for them.

By using SWOOP, ACU can now see all levels of engagement, see who are influential people around a topic and what posts are the most engaging.

ACU’s Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Dr Stephen Weller, said SWOOP’s analytics help monitor and improve ACU’s overall communication effectiveness.

Do you use measures beyond simple activity to identify who your enterprise influencers and engaging leaders are? Do you know which of your groups are the most collaborative, beyond simple activity measures? Are you able to determine the breadth, depth and longevity of your key campaigns?

Learning from the best

Our hope is by sharing these stories of success it will help you with ideas on how to improve your Workplace community.

We would love to see you among the world’s best networks. Try SWOOP for Workplace today.

Download the full SWOOP 2019 benchmarking report of Workplace networks.

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