Facebook and the WorkPlace

by | Oct 10, 2011

I’ve heard more than one retailer quip that Facebook is the most widely used workforce management system.  As the argument goes, Facebook is the place your associates post their work schedules for their friends and family to see, and to swap shifts with their colleagues.  Taken as a whole, it gives Facebook the largest WFM penetration.  Now, while I don’t buy this theory, it does raise an interesting question:  what role does social media play in workforce management?


Last week, WorkPlace Systems put forth their answer to that question with at their Worldwide WFM Conference held at Whittlebury Hall in Northamptonshire, United Kingdom.  At the conference, WorkPlace CTO Alex Davis and Design Director Ian Mills demonstrated their new Shift Bidding module.  Like the other shift bidding modules, WorkPlace’s new offering allows users to post open shifts that others can pick-up.  What is unique about WorkPlace’s Shift Bidding module is that open shifts can be posted to Facebook and Twitter in addition to supporting text message and email.


Open shifts can be posted to specific Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, or to a WorkPlace Facebook application, giving you more control over functionality and access.  This ultimately gives your operations team quite a bit of flexibility in posting shifts for certain stores, groups of stores or the entire enterprise.


What makes the WorkPlace solution even more interesting is that it is designed to be bolted on to an existing WFM implementation.  Customers don’t have to be using a WorkPlace scheduling module to take advantage of this functionality.  It can interface with any scheduling package.


Leveraging Facebook and Twitter as a communication channel opens up some interesting benefits.  First, it should help retailers overcome reluctance they may have with pure mobile-based shift bidding solutions as it eliminates concerns about cost and device penetration.  Second, it provides greater flexibility when communicating with associates which helps eliminate any fairness-related concerns.  Finally, it provides associates with more control over how they want to be communicated with by their employer.  This should lead to higher employee engagement.

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