Facebook is adding Walmart, the world's largest private employer, to its Workplace chat tool for businesses.
The move is a sign that Facebook's early efforts to compete with companies like Microsoft and Slack in the competitive world of enterprise software is paying off. Walmart will join the ranks of 14,000 other businesses like Starbucks and Delta that have joined Workplace since the service first debuted nearly one year ago.
Walmart decided to start using Workplace because the retail behemoth realized that "it was time for a new generation of SaaS apps to connect everyone in the company," Facebook's VP of Workplace, Julien Codorniou, told Business Insider during a recent interview.
Walmart executives have used Workplace's live video capabilities to hold all-hands meetings, and store associates have shared photos of in-store display arrangements with their colleagues to demonstrate best practices. Because an employee only needs a Facebook account to be invited by their employer onto Workplace, Codorniou said that Facebook envisions the tool being the first work-chat software used by many workers around the world.
So far, Facebook is seeing the most adoption on Workplace's free tier, which doesn't have a cap on the number of employees that can use it but does lack some features for larger enterprises, like integration with compliance partners.
But the social network will begin officially charging businesses using its larger-scale, paid tier in October, according to Codorniou. A Facebook spokesperson declined to say how many of the 14,000 businesses on Workplace were part of the paid tier.
Facebook has been staffing up its Workplace division in recent months. Codorniou leads the team out of London but said that Workplace now has several sales offices scattered around the world.
"Workplace as a platform is a big priority" within Facebook, Codorniou said.