LinkedIn Makes Enterprise Inroads With New Communication Tools

LinkedIn is shifting its focus with a set of new tools designed to help simplify communication between coworkers. The move is a natural evolution for the social network that's best-known as a place to find a new job, according to CIO.com's Matt Kapko.

LinkedIn chocolates

LinkedIn, the social network for professionals, now wants to help you share ideas and increase productivity within your company, in addition to finding outside opportunities. You will soon get LinkedIn tools that make it easier to connect with colleagues and share content within specific divisions of a company.

The company's plans, as first reported by Re/code and then confirmed by CIO.com, also include a new app that will make it easier for colleagues to engage and stay connected. 

The move is a natural evolution for the social network that's best-known as a place to find a new job.

Using LinkedIn to Enhance Your Current Job

The value of LinkedIn as an internal tool for companies is unclear, but the new features could lead more professionals to think about the platform in a new light. LinkedIn is adding the new layer to its offering in an attempt to create a refined use case for the platform, based on behaviors that are already encouraged within the service. 

[Related News Analysis: How to Use LinkedIn's New Profile Features]

"We see many members and companies using LinkedIn regularly for internal purposes, like researching co-workers and sharing content," says LinkedIn spokesman Joe Roualdes. "So we're developing new products that make it even easier for professionals to use LinkedIn to be more successful at work, and companies to more effectively attract talent, and market and sell their products."

The first of two new products will serve as a sort of employee directory. When you search LinkedIn for a coworker , for example, you'll see a version of the person's profile that's specifically intended to be shared with others at your company.

Profile details, which will be visible only to coworkers, could include contact information, and content or special projects that are underway. The internal company directory is designed to make it easier for you to find colleagues and determine the best modes of communication. A set of select companies will test the feature during the coming weeks.

LinkedIn Takes Fresh Approach to Internal Communication

LinkedIn's push to become a tool for use within the workplace also includes a standalone app designed to help employees share content such as blogs, articles and white papers. The company plans to start piloting this as-of-yet unnamed product before the end of March.

The new tool is similar to LinkedIn Groups, but it's designed to achieve an entirely different objective. Groups are about building and expanding your network, while the new features are designed to help companies attract talent, better market their products and services, and focus on internal sharing between specific groups of employees.

[Related News Analysis: An Inside Look at LinkedIn's Unbundling Strategy]

The news is notable because it spotlights differences in LinkedIn's strategy for internal communications compared to the popular enterprise chat services such as Yammer or document collaboration services such as Office 365 for Business and Google for Work.

LinkedIn says it has no immediate plans to release collaboration tools with document sharing, editing or chat features. The social network is not necessarily on the opposite side of the spectrum of the leading business collaboration firms, but its vision for enterprise collaboration falls somewhere in the middle — on the inside looking in.

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