Canadian Tire Corporation (CTC) is one of 300 companies, globally, participating in a closed beta test of Facebook’s new enterprise spinoff, Facebook At Work.
The platform functions almost identically to the current, consumer-facing version of Facebook, but offers companies a closed network that only employees can join. CTC is the largest Canadian company participating in the beta test. (Vancouver’s Hootsuite is another.)
The company introduced the platform to employees across Canadian Tire, FGL Sports and Mark’s one month ago. According to Canadian Tire’s vice-president of information technology, Bonnie Agostinho, 5,000 CTC staffers are currently using Facebook At Work and the company intends to onboard all 85,000 of its employees, including store-level staff.
Agostinho told Marketing she sees Facebook At Work as a way to facilitate conversations across all departments and levels of the company, from the C-suite to staffers working in call centres. Within the first month, she said she’s already seen an abundance of communication between senior and junior staffers that previously would have been nearly impossible.
That two-way dialogue was lacking in other tools CTC has tried over the years, like the closed intranet it had previously been using, Agostinho said.
The fact Facebook is already familiar to most employees also made Facebook At Work attractive. While CTC offered training on how to use Facebook at Work, Agostinho said most employees started using it intuitively without any consultation, which has allowed CTC to take a hands-off approach and allow employees to find the value in the service on their own.
“If you’re a Facebook user, it’s so easy to use. Facebook At Work looks almost exactly like personal Facebook,” she said. “The transition from one to the other is flawless.”
Facebook At Work is currently available for consumers to download as an app, but Facebook isn’t planning a wide release until later this year, according to Vanessa Chan, a spokesperson for Facebook at Work.
The company has taken a slow, steady approach to rollout, starting with a handful of companies early in 2015 then adding more over the past year. Chan said a total of 60,000 companies have applied to use the platform.
While the consumer-facing version of Facebook is supported by ads, there are no ads on Facebook at Work and Chan said the company had no intent to introduce them. Instead, Facebook At Work will make use of the freemium model, offering a basic version of the platform to companies for free, then charge for extras such as analytics.