You are at 50% Workplace from Facebook adoption or more, great work! You have created a place where many people find relevant content and connection, but how do you get the others to join? Keep reading to learn how to avoid the most common mistakes when trying to drive adoption for Workplace from Facebook post-launch, and how to grow adoption from 50% to 100%.

In this article, we look at the strategic application of two theories that are proven to increase adoption.

I hope this article assists you in your mission to improve your Workplace adoption rates, reveals the mindsets that activate engagement, and provides a clear plan that you can implement with your team. 

If you are serious about getting to 100% adoption and liked this article, you should sign up for our free email course. The e-mails will provide you with practical and tactical things to do and be a great motivation and resource on your journey to 100% Workplace from Facebook adoption.


IT’S NOT EASY, BUT IT IS CAREER DEFINING

Reaching 100% adoption on Workplace in your current company is an exceptional achievement. It demonstrates not only that you can get sh*t done but that you genuinely care about the workplace community and recognize the efficiencies, productivity, and cultural benefits that engagement offers.

You’re the breed of employee that any company would love to have, especially in these times when corporate cultures and tech adoption are pretty high up on the list of problems that most companies struggle with. 

If you’re reluctant to put in the work over the next 6-12 months, this guide is not for you. However, if persistence is in your nature I can promise great results and turn your satisfactory 50% adoption to an excellent 100%.

 

WHERE DO YOU START?

First up, let’s look at our objectives and figure out where things have gone wrong. Further down, there’s a practical list of basic actions you can take to get the adoption ball rolling. 

Jumping right in, there are two things you need to achieve:

  1. Adoption – people returning regularly 
  2. Engagement – people posting and interacting

In order to encourage adoption and reach the engagement for the non-power users you need, consider the following first:

  • Create content that is relevant and interesting: People discover and consume content created by other users on Workplace. As more people adopt Workplace, the sum of all content scales, leading to greater value for the different cohorts of users. 
  • Connection: Networks allow users to discover and/or connect with other users. As more users join the network, there is greater value for every individual user. 
  • Influencers: These are the CEO, the management team, employees that other employees like, and follow. Think of these people as the “celebrities” that have followers within the organization. If these people become adopters and engage in Workplace, the platform gains integrity and dependability and becomes the place to be. 
  • Forget the home runs: Rather than try to hit a home run, think of the process of reaching 100% adoption as a step-by-step process. This way you’ll benefit from continuous small wins along the way. 
  • Be patient and consistent: Moving from 50% to 100% adoption on Workplace doesn’t happen overnight. Once you’ve reached 50% adoption, you’ll find more effort is required to make incremental gains such as from 60-86%. 


The classic bell curve can be applied to Workplace adoption. It’s easier to attract the “Innovators”, the “Early adopters” and the “Early majority” compared to the “Late majority” and the “Laggards”.

The brutal truth is that the last 16% – (the Laggards) – is actually just as hard as the 60%-86% journey (late majority). So remember this when communicating internally and setting the goals of adoption. This journey needs strategic thinking and commitment. 

WHY THE OBVIOUS CHOICE IS NOT ALWAYS THE RIGHT CHOICE WHEN DRIVING ADOPTION:

To make the theories simpler to understand, we have created this fictional case:

Let’s say your company has about 10,000 employees. 6,000 (or 60%) use Workplace on a daily basis. The remaining 4,000 (or 40%) are checking in irregularly, or not at all. Your objective is to increase the adoption to 100%. You have two groups of employees that you can focus on:

Group A: Of the 40%, 200 middle managers have downloaded the Workplace and WorkChat apps on their phones. These people are checking in once a week. 

Group B: Also as part of the 40%, 2000 frontline workers are in the category of “heard about Workplace”. They may be checking in from time to time, perhaps not at all with some having uploaded a profile picture. 

In the next section of this article, I’ll address the pain points of each user type and the theories that can be applied in order to inch your way to 100% adoption.

Called the network effect and Adjacent User Theory, these concepts can be applied to the adoption of goods and services, such as Workplace. Furthermore, they also offer the psychology that explains how politics work, how movements start, and why Kim Kardashian and her family can make millions by simply being influencers.

 

THEORY ON HOW TO DRIVE ADOPTION FOR WORKPLACE FROM FACEBOOK

The network effect and its impact on adoption

The network effect isn’t a new term. Also called a demand-side economy of scale, it refers to the bandwagon effect resulting from people joining or adopting a product or service, thereby enhancing the value of the network through a positive feedback loop. 

The network’s value increases according to the number of others using it. 

Network effects become significant after a certain subscription percentage has been achieved. This is called a critical mass. Social media is highly dependent on network effects, but the most famous examples of network effects are the telephone, the internet, and marketplaces such as eBay and Craigslist.

The below diagrams illustrate three different dynamics of the network effect – Sarnoff’s Law, Metcalfe’s Law and Reed’s Law. Together they show the increased network value in relation to the network – 

  1. Firstly, in direct proportion to the network size – Sarnoff’s Law
  2. Secondly, to the square of the number of users Metcalfe’s Law
  3. Thirdly, in proportion to the network size which also forms clusters that in turn scale faster in value due to influence and interconnectedness.

 

How is this relevant to speed or rate of adoption?

With an adoption rate of 50% or more, there is more than “critical mass” as seen in Metcalfe’s Law. Let’s take WorkChat as an example. If no-one uses WorkChat there’s no value in trying to call or text people. However, if everyone uses it, everyone receives value. Based on Metcalfe’s Law, with 50% adoption of Workplace, the channel delivers enough value to be used regularly, and it will spread. 

Reed’s Law shows that the network grows proportionally but forms in clusters that scale faster based on the value of others. Let’s apply Reed’s Law to WorkPlace. If senior management and key people (the influencers) in the organization adopt and engage regularly in Workplace, employees will do the same. Given the platform will facilitate connection, interaction and engagement with those that offer real value to their professional lives and experience in the workplace generally, employees are more likely to be enticed. 

Adjacent Users – what are they and how to win them over.

The next step is to ensure that the “Adjacent Users” join. To start any movement, influencers are needed in order to create buzz to attract the individuals we refer to as adjacent people. These people are aware of your product or service and have maybe even tried it but they are not engaged enough to become a user. This is likely because the product/service’s positioning presents them with what they’d consider being reasonable barriers to adoption. 

So what role can influencers play in all of this? The more powerful the influencer in an organization, the stronger the attraction for the Adjacent Users. By focusing on influencers to adopt and use, the network effects will have a far greater impact.

Since you are in charge of ensuring Workplace adoption, it’s important to remember that these are the critical people to engage – they, the influencers, are the magnets.

Here’s a simple example of the importance of influencers. If the CEO uses WorkChat to send a message to the people with whom he/she engages, the likelihood of the C-level to start using WorkChat, instead of their current platform, will increase. Note, the power transferral does not work from the bottom up. That is, a CEO is far less likely to cease using their preferred channel or mode of communication and adopt WorkChat simply because a middle-tier manager has done so. 

Adjacent User theory is commonly discussed in the context of companies like Facebook, Instagram and Slack. These social giants have mindfully applied this thinking to their growth strategies to tap into exponential growth for their community-based products.

 

Two great sources to learn more about this theory, are:
‘Growth Outside the Core’ – Harvard Business Review
‘The Adjacent User Theory’ – Guest Post by Bangaly Kaba 

 

The role of Power Users 

I’m figuring you’re likely to be a Power User given you use Workplace. You probably also interact with other Power Users using Workplace.

The Power User can be an influencer, but not always. Power Users are great at assessing what works and what doesn’t. They’re the ones that are clear about what’s effective in Workplace for them, and what’s not. As a result of the attention, and their stature in the organization, improvements are made.

And that’s how things roll. Those who experience the pain-points and who then have the confidence to not only express the problem but do something about it are called the Power Users for this very reason. The caveat is that over time this leads to creating a community through the power of the Power Users – (it sounds like a tongue-twister for your next WorkChat call!)

While securing traction from Power Users to drive engagement in the early days is critical to building a community for the Power Users, it’s also crucially important to drive adoption of Workplace to the wider work community. To do this you need to change your approach. The only way to increase adoption is to focus on the users that don’t have the level of engagement, knowledge, needs, or the same interests as you and your Power User cohort. Identifying the pain-points experienced is critical for your next phase of Workplace adoption. You need to take off your own Power-user hat, and look at the world through the lens of the irregular and non-users. 

It’s worth remembering that the likelihood of losing the Power Users once they’re engaged with Workplace is slim as they’re already in the habit of checking Workplace daily. Improving the experience for these stakeholders will return fewer rewards than turning a non-user into a daily user. Here’s the catch. All new users are not created equal, so this should be done in steps, with a special focus on influencers who are categorized as Adjacent Users and those that are moving outwards.

The Adjacent Users are aware of Workplace and have tried using it, but their experience hasn’t been habit-forming. Why? They don’t believe the platform will benefit them, or there are too many barriers to regular use.

Every organization is different and the reasons for not using it can be many and varied. It helps to speak to and empathize with the people not using Workplace to understand their situation before any actions are taken. It could be useful to conduct a survey or questionnaire to gather insights as well as talking to the different groups of people who are not using the platform regularly. 

Put yourself in your colleagues’ shoes and ask yourself what it would take to start using Workplace? It could be an idea to schedule a series of lunches with key people and/or workgroups to discuss what it does, what it offers, how it can improve workplace connections, and where its value lies for them. Presenting Workplace through the ‘Did you know’ lens can prove useful for many. Be sure to build rapport with your stakeholders before you start investigating, and stay open and curious.

 

SETTING THE STRATEGY

As soon as you know the problems for the non-power users you can start solving them. Adjacent User theory illustrates employee groups as a series of circles. Each of these is defined by the user type in your company and has users in orbit around them. 

Steps to follow:

  1. Identify who your users are. Ie. those that sit on the outer radius surrounding the successful user. 
  2. Identify the influencers amongst them.
  3. Figure out the barrier(s) preventing your users from crossing the threshold and moving closer to the Power User. 
  4. Break down these barriers one by one, gradually increasing and driving adoption.

Examples of your Workplace users and their behavior:

  1. Workplace Power User that posts regularly to groups.
  2. The daily active user that likes often and posts occasionally.
  3. Weekly check-in user – Adjacent Users.
  4. Checks in from time to time; have a profile picture. 
  5. Signed up once.
  6. Has heard about Workplace but never checked in.
  7. Never heard about Workplace.

 

Here’s the strategy put in practice. Use this to problem-solve your own situation:

Remember the examples of Group A and Group B we talked about earlier?
Group A: Out of 4,000 employees – 200 middle managers have downloaded the Workplace and WorkChat apps on their phones. These people are checking in once a week.

Group B:  Out of the same 4,000 employees, 2000 frontline workers are in the category of “heard about Workplace”. They may be checking in from time to time, perhaps not at all with some having uploaded a profile picture.

  • Your research reveals staff is using Whatsapp to communicate on a daily basis explaining why Workplace is rarely checked. 
  • The issue is that these are the Adjacent Users and influencers that would increase the network effects down to the people that are managers.
  • Front line employees advise they were told to download the app, but never did citing 3-6 different reasons. 
  • A number of Non-Adjacent and non-influencers also downloaded the app but did not find it relevant, fun, etc.

Users you should focus on are the 200 managers, not the 2000 front line workers:

If you get 200 managers (influencers) to successfully use WorkChat to communicate to their teams instead of Whatsapp,  you will automatically get the 2000 (adjacent users) frontline employees to also use Workplace regularly. 

Tips and insights in this case (more of this in the Free e-mail course): 

  1. The barriers to managers not adopting Workplace is that they do not have a problem you solve with Workplace. They use Whatsapp to communicate with their local teams and do not see the point of spending energy to adopt something new.
  2. Talk to IT and discuss the problem of shadow IT in the company (security risk, GDRP etc), making a subscription to Workplace redundant, let alone a waste of the budget. Request IT to create a no shadow IT policy to be formally communicated and enforced. 
  3. The above policy should be combined with communicating of benefits of WorkChat and that WorkChat is the new communication channel to stop employees using Whatsapp.
  4. Watch the power of influence grow adoption numbers on WorkChat amongst managers and their local teams.

Summary:

Moving towards 100% adoption requires smart thinking and having an astute understanding of the different types of employees in your organization. Spending time to assess the impact of network effects and the Adjacent User theory is a useful and scientifically valuable approach that if done methodically is guaranteed to deliver results.

Be realistic. Do not try to hit a home run every time, but focus on the large groups that are not adjacent. 

I hope you have found value in this strategic adoption approach and are now better placed to understand the psychological rationale that drives adoption and its relationship to business success. Once you have laid out the strategy, it is time to implement the plan.

If you are serious about getting to 100% adoption you should sign up for our free email course, it will provide you with practical and tactical things to do and be a great motivation and resource on your journey to 100% Workplace from Facebook adoption.