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Salesforce Expands Work.com, Workplace from Facebook Debuts Features & More News

June 28, 2021 Digital Workplace
Stephanie Vaughn Freelance Writer
By Stephanie Vaughn

More than a year after testing the HR waters with the launch of Work.com to help employers with workforce planning in the midst of the pandemic, Salesforce is diving headfirst into the HR and employee experience market. The latest iteration of Work.com, announced on June 17, puts Salesforce more directly in competition with other human capital management vendors like Workday, SAP SuccessFactors and Oracle as organizations move to new hybrid work models.

Put that together with the acquisition of collaboration and communication specialist Slack late in 2020, and it's clear Salesforce is assembling a suite of products and services that go far beyond the traditional customer relationship management where the San Francisco-based company made its name.

The new Work.com products focus on employee growth and wellbeing and employee service tools, Jodi Innerfield, director of product marketing for Salesforce, told ZDNet. Those needs "went from reopening the office to work from anywhere — from work from home to this hybrid working world. And what we're hearing is that the technology that our customers used for employee experience, when everybody was in an office, just isn't cutting it anymore."

The new features, which are aimed at both employees as well as management and HR, include:

  • Work.com Wellbeing: Well-being tools allow employees to complete confidential wellness checks and personal planning reviews, and receive tips on how to reduce stress from wellness partners including Thrive Global, or connect with a financial advisor. Managers will also be able to analyze aggregate data to identify workforce trends, such as a spike in work-related stress.
  • Work.com Talent: Provides employees with a single view of skills, development goals and potential career paths, as well as personalized career guidance and access to internal roles that align with their interests.
  • New Employee Service offerings: The HR Service Center streamlines HR processes, onboarding or short-term leave paperwork. Service Catalog offers a consumer-style menu of company products and services for employees to request, such as a new laptop or a request to fix their mobile device. Employee Concierge Bots help users find answers by surfacing articles and escalation paths.

HR Service Center and Employee Concierge Bots should be generally available in July, according to Salesforce. Wellbeing, Talent and Service Catalog are expected to be available in November.

“The employee experience has become a central tenet of modern talent management strategies, and is a paradigm that has the potential to drive better business outcomes in recruitment, retention and employee development,” according to Conner Forrest, senior analyst with 451 Research, part of S&P Global Market Intelligence, in a quote provided by Salesforce. “Workers want to be provided with the same contextual, relevant, feedback-driven experiences they are offered as a customer. The employee experience is an avenue through which that can be achieved.”

The new HR tools were inspired by customers that have used Salesforce to build their own customized talent solutions, Innerfield said to ZDNet. The new tools "definitely take us more formally into the category of tools that help support HR teams," Innerfield said, but "the real differentiator here is we're taking an employee-centric approach."

Digital Learning Company Skillsoft Returns to Public Markets

After winding its way through private ownership and navigating bankruptcy, digital learning pioneer Skillsoft Corp. began trading on the public markets once again this month.

The company is now trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol SKIL following the completion of Software Luxembourg Holding S.A.’s merger with Churchill Capital Corp II and combination with Global Knowledge Training LLC on June 11. The combined company is now operating as Skillsoft.

Dublin, Ireland-based Skillsoft has a long legacy in the e-learning and corporate training markets. Founded in 1998, the company reports that it serves 45 million learners in more than 160 countries, covering approximatley 70% of the Fortune 1000.

“As the new Skillsoft, we will further build on our enterprise learning solutions to help companies prepare for the future of work," said Skillsoft CEO Jeffery Tarr in a prepared statement. "With an unparalleled global reach and the financial flexibility to drive sustained organic and acquired growth, we see tremendous opportunities to expand our capabilities, solidify our leadership position and create value for our shareowners, customers, learners, team members and other stakeholders.”

Report: Tech Workers Want Flexible Work

News flash. When it comes to tech workers, it's complicated out there.

The 2021 Technologist Sentiment Report from tech careers platform Dice highlighted a number of complexities facing organizations that are looking to create attractive work environments for in-demand tech workers.

According to new data on work structure, technologists show a strong preference for hybrid and 100% remote options over working permanently in-office. Only 17% of technologists find working in the office full time to be extremely or very desirable, compared to 59% for both 100% remote and hybrid approaches.

The Dice report surveys technology professionals on a number of issues, including remote and flexible work, workload, work-life balance, job and career satisfaction, and their outlook on the tech profession in a post-pandemic world. Results from the sentiment survey in the second quarter 2021 were compared to sentiment surveys from the second quarter of 2020 and the salary survey from the fourth quarter of 2020.

While full0time office work is seen as less desirable, there is still value in the office, according to the data. The desire to work remotely five days per week in Q2 2021 (29%) significantly declined from the fourth quarter of 2020 (41%), showing a preference for a hybrid work model in lieu of being fully remote.

"It's been incredibly interesting to see how technologists' working preferences have changed before and during the pandemic. While many technologists would still prefer to work 100% remotely, there is an equal desire for a hybrid approach, and we've actually seen fewer remote days per week become more desirable over the past year," said Art Zeile, CEO of Dice, in a press statement.

"The companies who succeed in attracting and retaining top talent will be those who take the time to build an agile approach that gives technologists flexibility and control over their work environment."

Zeroed-In Gets Investment to Expand Workforce Analytics

Workforce analytics software provider Zeroed-In Technologies closed an investment round led by Luther King Capital Management Headwater Investments. HealthStream, Inc., an existing partner of Zeroed-In, also participated. Maryland-based Zeroed-In plans to use the investment to solidify the company's position as a provider of SaaS-based workforce surveying and people analytics solutions and advance its product roadmap and client service goals.

The Zeroed-In management team, including founder and CEO Chris Moore, will remain and own a stake in the company. The company delivers cloud-enabled workforce surveying and people analytics technologies, unifying data from cloud and on-premise HR, talent and business systems to support workforce decision-making.

“Zeroed-In has an incredibly robust HR analytics platform that has been refined by a team of deeply experienced thought leaders in the space. We look forward to partnering with Zeroed-In to further commercialize the company’s high impact insights across a wide range of industries in an increasingly important and demanding HR landscape,” said Jonathon Miller, principal of Luther King Capital Management in a statement.

LogMeIn Creates Digital Workplace Team to Support Shift to Hybrid Work

LogMeIn, Inc., a provider of cloud-based solutions such as GoToConnect, GoToMeeting, LastPass and Rescue, is taking on the rise of digital and hybrid work with a new internal digital workplace team.

Former chief of staff Chris Perrotti will lead the Boston-based company's new team as vice president, digital workplace and will focus on creating an equitable and engaging hybrid working experience at LogMeIn, which has committed to maintaining a remote-centric workforce.

The new Digital Workplace Team will be the single owner for internal technology optimization across LogMeIn’s core business processes, with the goal of freeing up time to deliver customer value through digital tools, platforms, technologies and services. Perrotti's team will also define the company's approach to the future of work and how best to fuel the effectiveness of employees, customers and partners from wherever they choose to work through a cohesive digital experience.

“We make some of the best remote work technology out there, but we also know that with hybrid work you can’t just enable your employees with the technology, you have to make sure that the environment created through the technology is equitable for all,” said Perrotti in a statement.

“We don’t want employees who live outside of one of our office hub locations, or those who choose not to make the commute every day, to feel less a part of the organization than those sitting in one of our offices. The formation of this new team demonstrates the commitment LogMeIn is making towards a future of remote-centricity, allowing employees to better balance their life and work and spend less time getting to the office and more time on what matters most.”

Workplace from Facebook Rolls Out New Features

At the company's recent Workplace Transform North America virtual event, Workplace from Facebook announced some new and updated features to enhance Q&A engagement, watch recorded broadcasts on demand more easily, and improve its Knowledge Library intranet.

Ujjwal Singh, head of product at Workplace, shared in a recent blog that video broadcasts have become one of the more popular use cases on Workplace as enterprises use the platform for delivering broadcasts. The latest batch of Workplace updates aim to make it easier to view broadcast segments on demand and engage with employees.

"Our new Q&A experience pulls in whoever asked the question into the broadcast," Singh wrote. "Whether it's a 100 person or 1,000-person group it can be a personalized experience."

Another new feature revolves around Video Chapters to make it easier to watch videos on demand and skip to key parts. Using machine learning, Workplace divides events into chapters for easy recall and navigation. Singh said that Facebook's internal Q&As with CEO Mark Zuckerberg are viewed live by anywhere from 45% to 75% of the company. When replays are included, 90% of the company is tuned in.

Workplace's Knowledge Library, which launched a year ago, is adding Cover Pages for Categories to make it easier for employees to navigate and find information. Workplace is also adding translations so Knowledge Library content can be viewed in an employee's preferred language. Knowledge Library will also get Version Control on key documents.

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