Today, we are going to talk about collaboration and how we implemented Facebook Workplace to our organization.
Todd Nielsen: Okay, welcome to the Business Innovation Technology Experience. This is Todd Nielsen, Thomas Douglas Kristina Coons and Dax Bamborough from JMARK Business Solutions. Today, we are going to talk about Dax’s favorite topic of collaboration.
Dax Bamborough: This is actually a topic I’m really excited to talk about. I’ve become pretty passionate about this since joining JMARK especially, so I’m excited.
Todd Nielsen: So for those who don’t know, the marketing team is six employees in four states. Right, did I get that right?
Dax Bamborough: Yep.
Kristina Coons: Yes.
Todd Nielsen: Utah, Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri. So what are some of the things we’ve done on the marketing team that seems things that we have done that you guys feel has greatly improved the collaboration?
Dax Bamborough: I think we’re in the middle of showing an example right now, using video conferencing applications and software to be able to be together, have meetings, work together even when we’re not in the same place. We’ve used it, of course for meetings, but there have been days where a few of us have left the video conference on all day and sort of worked on separate things, and then been in the same room even without being in the same room, and able to chat with each other real quick if we had a question, rather than it becoming a bigger process to try to contact somebody who’s thousands of miles away. It can be really effective.
Todd Nielsen: Tom, you have a much bigger picture from there’s employees all over. Of course, there’s lots of employees and in Springfield. But what are some of the tools that JMARK uses to make sure that collaboration isn’t as a hindrance?
Thomas Douglas: Well, I think my my favorite tool in this arena is Facebook Workplace. Since we have implemented that as an organization, we’ve not only seen the culture across geographies come together, we’ve seen the culture across teams or within teams come together much more effectively. I think that one of the greatest things that happens in that environment is because it’s such a known interface, the adoption is so high, and it’s created in such a way where people want to interact with it. It’s not a tool that they dread to use.
Thomas Douglas: We all get to the point where it’s like, “Oh, I got to look at my email again, or, Oh, I got to read this message thread again,” or whatever it is. But when you’re doing it in an environment in a with an interface that you enjoy working in, where you can pull a video, or you can do the chat, or you can put the funny GIFs in there, you can do those things. It creates a fun experience that everybody can come together with.
Thomas Douglas: Inside of our organization, we used to get feedback like JMARK needs to improve its communication. Communication is a weak point for JMARK all the way too in one of our more recent employee feedback surveys, the feedback was, “I’ve never worked in a company where the communication is as great as it is at JMARK.” A big part of that is is because of Workplace, because we’re constantly putting information out there for people to consume, but not so much that it becomes overwhelming. It’s relevant information that helps people speed up. It’s a bit a whole lot of fun. We operate with clients in 43 states now. To keep track of all of the information, the thousands of devices, the circumstances that can happen in technology, we have to be able to move fast, find information fast, collaborate quickly to solve problems for our clients. Without workplace, I don’t know how we would achieve that.
Todd Nielsen: I think just to give some background on that, based on that latest survey, I mean, we’ve had some extremely animated conversations on the executive team in an annual planning about communication over the last five to six years. It’s been a little bit of a long run, and we’re a tech company that has access to tons of tools and tons of different things. We kind of threw our cards down and and invested into Workplace and exactly right.
Todd Nielsen: I mean, it’s such an easy thing to get into because people know Facebook. It’s different but it’s not a far cry. People understand social media. People understand that that type of application. So implementing at JMARK, there wasn’t really like a big training. It was, “Hey everybody, we’re going to do this go here and sign up.” Everybody just kind of-
Thomas Douglas: Then we went.
Todd Nielsen: Hit it.
Thomas Douglas: Well when you break it down and you think about what it means to create an environment in which people want to operate, nobody has the chops like Facebook. I mean, they have three billion daily subscribers to Facebook. As a result of that they can take the feedback from three billion people on a daily basis to figure out what they like to do, what they don’t like to do to tweak the environment so that it’s engaging. They’ve taken all of that knowledge and then they’ve transported that into a work application that’s private and secure, that allows business to get things done. So where else in the world can you take the feedback of three billion people to create a platform that does a great job? That’s exactly what has occurred.
Dax Bamborough: I think in my own personal experience, it goes beyond simply … People think, they hear Facebook, they here Workplace. Their first reaction is that it’s mostly a communication tool, because there are such great chat features and stuff like that. But one thing I’ve been surprised about that we’ll be using more and more and more often are tools that are literal collaboration tools, sharing documents. Kristina can message me and say, “Hey, do you have that document that we worked on a few days ago? I’m not sure where it is.” I can just reply back to her with the document. There’s no hindrance of going to email and attaching a document, it just gets right back to her.
Dax Bamborough: Same thing with working together on things, you can create rooms. Todd and I have a room where when we’re working on stuff together, we can just throw ideas in there that need to be collected somewhere. But we can save them for a meeting we’re going to have in a week and talk about them then, or respond to them and add to those ideas, and just work on those things together. They’re in a place we both have access to. It’s where we are every day, we’re not opening up another application in order to do that.
Kristina Coons: You can also open your own groups, too. Sorry, Tom.
Thomas Douglas: No, no, you go ahead.
Kristina Coons: Well, Dax is saying how you and Todd have your own group. You can even have your own group with just yourself where only you can see everything and that’s how you can organize all your own work too, so everything’s in one place.
Dax Bamborough: Yeah, I’ve made the joke plenty of times that I’m going to open up the Utah Office Group. It would just be me because I’m the only JMARK employee in Utah.
Thomas Douglas: So far.
Dax Bamborough: That’s your group.
Thomas Douglas: I think one of the byproducts that I didn’t anticipate when we implemented it in the organization was the substantial reduction in email. I would throw it at about a 30%, maybe a 40% reduction in internal email as a result of having Workplace because you’re putting public information in a public place rather than sending another email to everybody in the organization who then hits reply to all that creates this plethora of emails in the organization that just doesn’t occur. You put it in the right formats for the right groups or teams that need to consume that information. There’s no emails, people always have access to it, and the search functions are amazing. So you can just search whatever the topic is. It’ll search across all your groups, find what you’re looking for, and allow you to get it done. So for me, who has certainly had to deal with hundreds and hundreds of emails on a daily basis, it’s been a game changer in productivity.
Todd Nielsen: Yeah, just so there are some numbers. Go ahead. Let me find the exact numbers. I can share those.
Kristina Coons: I just wanted to share a little bit about of your experience actually going to visit Facebook.
Thomas Douglas: Oh yeah. That was pretty exciting. So JMARK was fortunate enough to be selected by Facebook to be one of the few managed service providers that they’re going to partner with in the country to implement and help organizations to utilize Facebook Workplace. As a part of that, I got to go out there and experience what it’s like on the campus. So I got to meet some of the senior people within Facebook Workplace, I got to see how they use it. I got to learn about how it was it was birthed.
Thomas Douglas: Essentially, it was a tool that they they originally started within Facebook to collaborate about how they were getting their own projects done. So they created the private environment of Facebook Workplace as an internal tool. When organizations would come to them because they had grown so fast, it’s like, “Well, how did you keep up? How did you deal with all the moving changes within Facebook when it was growing so fast?” Well, they started to share this internal tool and how they used it. Other organizations and enterprises said, “I want that.” So they commercialized it, they went through the security certification processes, and then published it. So it was amazing to see not only the environment in which they operate, but to hear the stories about how it was created. Then what’s happened over the years as it’s grown. Today, the biggest clients of Facebook Workplace are Walmart and Starbucks. I mean, they’re making these huge impacts with this product because it has the capability to really be a game changer.
Kristina Coons: Wow.
Thomas Douglas: Yeah, it’s pretty phenomenal.
Todd Nielsen: So one of the numbers I was just looking back in the report on Workplace is called Connections. What the Connections is it’s measuring essentially posts on a timeline, comment on a post, interactions, messages. In the last 28 days, there have been 9,158 connections.
Kristina Coons: Wow.
Todd Nielsen: So if you think about that from a culture standpoint, I mean, it’s massive. I mean, the number of interactions that is happening just through Workplace then could even then could happen via email or some other format is just amazing. There’s almost a personality to it of sorts. I mean, when you when you like a post or you do a little emoticon or you do a meme or something like that, it creates a different experience than just an email. Then sure, you can put emoticons in your emails and you can put memes on emails and videos and other things. But it’s that instant, like back and forth interaction that improves the culture and collaboration. I mean, it’s just amazing. We’ve reduced our emails by hundreds of thousands over the course of the year.
Thomas Douglas: Absolutely. If you if you go back and you think about some of the companies that are culture champions, Tony Shea and Zappos, they used to design their offices so that people had collisions. So in other words, whenever they would get up from their desk and they would go somewhere else in the organization, that they would interact with them. They had rules that you had to say hi, and anytime you came within four feet of someone, you had to say something to greet them, but it created the collisions. They designed their whole organization around that because it drove a positive culture. He was and is known for creating one of the greatest cultures of all times.
Thomas Douglas: So when you take the principle of what it means to create that strong culture, and you apply it to technology, that’s what has occurred with Facebook Workplace, because rather than collisions, it’s the connections that you have. You could have thousands of connections on a monthly basis where you would never have those any other way. In fact, you would dread them if you got them all via email. But when you get to interact with it, it feels so natural and fun that people actually get a benefit from it. They get they get an endorphin high from being in there and getting work done. So it’s two birds with one stone for sure.
Todd Nielsen: I think … Go ahead.
Dax Bamborough: From a remote worker standpoint, makes a huge difference. Because when I am there in Springfield, I already know people, the people I don’t necessarily work with every day, but I’ve communicated with them on Workplace in the way that Todd is talking about. I know their personalities. It’s like just walking into a different part of the office but instead, I’ve traveled a few thousand miles and then come to the office where there’s people that I already know.
Thomas Douglas: Yeah, it’s awesome.
Todd Nielsen: The other thing too is you can make Workplace what you want. We have groups that are the purpose of the group is just for notifications. It’s not really meant for high interaction and creating collisions. It’s just for informing people, letting people know. We have groups where it’s very personal and one on one. We have groups where it’s emergency-related stuff, announcements that everybody, notifications that everybody needs to know about.
Todd Nielsen: The beauty of it is the thing about like just Facebook is you have to adapt to their platform, it’s what it is. Whereas with Workplace, they’ve made it in a way that you can essentially adapt it to your business. Create the culture, and create the communication, and all those clashes and stuff in different ways. That’s wonderful.
Dax Bamborough: I think one really important thing, Todd, as you mentioned, all these different groups, and we’ve talked a lot about communication. I think there’s also the important factor of the opposite side of that, of what doesn’t have to be communicated in certain cases where what I mean is we have groups that are only people that are in the Tulsa Office. So if only the people in the Tulsa Office need to know, “Hey, here’s something that only affects us,” not everybody else has to be informed of that. That can be kept over there. Things can be isolated that way and that, in its own, has a big effect of saving time and saving people’s attention for the things that matter to them. I think that’s just as important aspect of enhancing communication as actual creating avenues of communication.
Thomas Douglas: Absolutely, cut out the noise.
Dax Bamborough: Exactly.
Todd Nielsen: Absolutely.
Thomas Douglas: I think one of the other byproducts that is worth communicating is around continuing education. We’re working in Zoom and other platforms plugged directly into the Facebook Workplace platform. So if we need to record a seminar or a webinar or an educational process within our organization, so that others can go back and can consume that on their schedule, then it creates a great ability to do that. So employee onboarding can be very consistent, a specific application training can be very specific and repeatable. Going through Microsoft training in our environment, Cisco training, HP training, all those things. We can capture all of that even from an entire room and then put it into the Workplace platform. Then anybody who joins the company or who wasn’t able to attend can still absorb that information and make sure that they didn’t miss a beat.
Todd Nielsen: Then we also have, I mean, it’s really goes down to the personal level. I mean, we have groups that love grilling. Grilling burgers and steak, and we have groups for just various interests that people have throughout the organization. It doesn’t really … I think a lot of people would look at that and go, “Why would you want that in a business environment? Isn’t that a productivity loss right there?” But it’s really about making connections, and it’s really about making friends, and creating a better culture.
Thomas Douglas: Absolutely. We’re making beautiful connection.
Todd Nielsen: It’s amazing when an application can do that. Go ahead.
Thomas Douglas: Yeah. When people feel connected to the entire business, they want to stay and they want to do good things within the business. The more situations or opportunities that we have to create that connectedness, it just helps the retention of the whole team and drives that positivity up.
Todd Nielsen: Absolutely.
Kristina Coons: Yeah. It is pretty crazy. I feel just as connected and collaborative with you two, as I do with Michelle, who sits right here. I think a big part of that is due to Workplace. It’s pretty cool. When I tell people that my boss was in Texas, they’re like, “What?” They’re just, “What?” I’m like, “Yeah, but it doesn’t affect anything.”
Thomas Douglas: Yeah.
Todd Nielsen: Yeah. Awesome. Well, we have a couple press releases on our website, regarding Workplace in Facebook, and along with this post, we’ll post some more information on how you can learn more about Workplace. We have people inside the organization that can help implement it, to help tech you about it, a lot of good stuff. Until next time, keep collaborating and make it awesome. Take care.
Thomas Douglas: Sure. Thanks.
Kristina Coons: See you.
Thomas Douglas: See you. Bye bye.