Adverts for Microsoft Teams, Slack or even Zoom usually follow the same format; people working together from the comfort of their own homes, in corporate jobs. There’s obviously nothing inherently wrong with that, but it does target one specific type of business, rather than demonstrate the full range of use cases different organisations can take advantage of, exemplified by the rise in virtual events since the pandemic.
Away from the living room, quizzes and shows, one effect collaboration platforms have had across the business landscape is taking away some of the emphasis of email, especially from an internal perspective.
The argument for removing email for certain members of staff, and replacing it with a collaboration platform, is particularly compelling for workers in the service industry. Waiters, cleaners, and shop floor assistants have little use for a specific email address tied to their job, although will need to be contacted from time to time by their employer.
Honest Burgers is one such business that’s done away with email addresses for their staff on the restaurant floors, instead opting to use the Workplace platform from Meta. This move has allowed the brand to “streamline” communications for employees, according to the head of employer brand at Honest Burgers, Oli Cavaliero.
“We didn't have a communications platform or a central platform before using Workplace. Instead, we had thousands of emails, WhatsApp groups, and messages, as well as different systems where we would hold documents and learning material,” he says.
“Now, we don't have internal emails and everything is done through Workplace. Our entire library of resources can be found on the platform, and we have other platforms that we use connected to Workplace so everything that we do is driven through Workplace, rather than having multiple logins for different platforms.”
Much has been said about the death of email, and whether there’s a role for the archaic technology in the modern era, especially one that’s saturated with communication and collaboration platforms. Despite several providers building tools intent on superseding the email inbox, such as Slack Connect and Microsoft Teams connect, no company has yet found a silver bullet in the war against email. Using Workplace, though, Honest Burgers claims it’s found a middle ground between wasting resources on unused email accounts and the necessary communications that need to be sent out.
Co-founders Tom Barton and Philip Eeles (pictured) established Honest Burgers in 2010 as a pop-up tent in Brighton
Employees need to have an understanding of the potential dangers they may encounter throughout a restaurant, from the kitchen to the table, for example. Employees, in previous years, would have had to log in to a portal they barely used, often resetting their passwords along the way, before running through mandated courses in order to simply get back to doing their jobs.
By transitioning to the collaboration platform, Honest Burgers has managed to integrate its staff training resources into chatbots that use multiple choice and free-text answers to provide a simple way to complete the course.
“At Honest, we initially used chatbots to share information to get feedback,” Cavaliero says. “From there, we’ve increased the complexity, and our systems engineer has been able to share his knowledge to the wider team, so we can create our own chatbots in our specialist areas.
“When a new member joins the team, they’re educated through chatbots. Initially, they'll be introduced to Workplace, then the chatbots guide them through the process. There are different areas that employees can train in, but the reason for us doing this is to simplify the process, rather than having a huge system with information we wouldn't necessarily need all the time.”
As with all collaboration platforms, adoption is key to its success. Being able to create chatbots, after all, isn’t useful if nobody is using Workplace. Cavaliero, however, says engagement has been high amongst its 600-strong employee base, with uptake well within the 90% range.
“Over 99% of our team are activated on Workplace, and 90% of our team log on at least ten times within a 28 day period,” he says. “That shows that employees are engaged, but we also understand that people might not want to be so engaged so we have to be absolutely fine with that.
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“Our employees can just use Workplace for the tools they need. We require them to use a chatbot to fulfil the health and safety course, for example. Some may not want to go on to our culture page and look at some of the pictures from some of the celebrations that have been going on.
“That said, as we've used Workplace more and integrated more initiatives, the engagement has certainly increased. Whether it's health and safety training, a bot platform, or our own HR system called the Brain that we’ve built, it all plugs into Workplace, which allows us to be flexible as well make changes when we want to.”
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Elliot Mulley-Goodbarne is a freelance journalist and content writer with six years of experience writing for B2B technology publications, notably Mobile News and Comms Business. He specialises in mobile, business strategy, and cloud technologies, with interests in environmental impacts, innovation, and competition. You can follow Elliot on Twitter and Instagram.