Moving from tradition to innovation: Nestlé launches Workplace by Facebook

Keeping up in this age of disruption is a challenge, especially for the more traditional organisations.

Nestlé certainly fits into this category. The organisation was founded in 1867 in Vevey, Switzerland, when Henri Nestlé created one of the first foods for infants. This was a response to the need for a healthy and affordable product, which could serve as an alternative for mothers who could not breastfeed their babies. He called his product Farine Lactée Henri Nestlé.

Since its origins 151 years ago and its first product, the company has grown to employ over 200,000 people, with a market cap of a staggering $237.3 billion.

Despite this, and while no one is saying this global institution is under significant threat, the need to innovate has never been greater; in order to meet fast-changing consumer demands of an always-on economy.

The need to move quicker to turn good ideas into great products has never been greater, and Nestlé realises this.

But, how to instigate this innovative philosophy?

It’s all about communication

In a process that began only nine months ago, 210,000 of Nestlé employees worldwide are using Facebook’s Workplace to connect and collaborate.

The platform is already making a difference in driving a faster turnaround from ideas to actions and products. Internal engagement is higher and responses faster, according to Nestlé. And, people are experimenting and collaborating more, as well as sharing information and ideas.

Commenting on the move to Workplace, Nestlé executive vice president Chris Johnson, said: “Nestlé is a people-first environment. We really rely on our talented teams to manage more than 2,000 Nestlé brands worldwide. We help our employees develop and we give them the right tools, so Workplace is a perfect fit.”

Julien Codorniou, vice president of Workplace by Facebook said, “As the global work landscape continues to change and the demand for better collaboration, best-of-breed IT and mobile-first work increases, we are honored to partner with a company like Nestlé to help employees work together to allow for limitless innovation.”

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Innovate for the customer? It’s all about the employee

The move to Workplace is part of Nestlé’s desire to empower it’s employees (what is it what Steve Jobs said?: ‘It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do’) and sustain a high-performance culture. The company is moving more and more to offer open office configurations and more flexible working environments — which is critical in retaining talent, those who come up with the ideas and create the product.

Workplace is also an example of how a traditional enterprise can embrace the best technology and systems. Filippo Catalano, Chief Information Officer at Nestlé, said: “Today, using Workplace by Facebook we are able to give our employees across the globe a platform to build connections, enabling faster and more engaging sharing of information.”

The first wave of Workplace market adoption including Mexico, Brazil, the Middle East and South Africa saw 25 times higher engagement per post and very high rate of use on mobile devices. Amongst other advantages, managers can use Live video to connect directly with employees at different locations. Sales teams can also use Workplace for daily check-ins and to share information and best practice.

While a large majority of users has now joined the Workplace platform, the rollout will continue throughout 2019.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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