Upcoming LinkedIn Products Connect Co-Workers

4103LinkedIn, long the place to hunt for a new job, plans to make it easier to connect with the colleagues you already have.

The professional network is building some tools — including a new app — for employers and employees to use the service together, a LinkedIn representative told Re/code. That includes a new product for sharing employee contact information, as well as something intended to help companies share its content with specific groups of employees.

The first product, which LinkedIn will begin to pilot in the coming weeks, will enable users to send InMail (LinkedIn’s private email-like messages) to co-workers even if they are not connected. It will also encourage users to upload their contact information — email, phone numbers, etc. — to a company database that will be visible to co-workers on the service.

The hope is that LinkedIn users will be able to communicate better with those at their own company. This update will not, however, include a chat service like you might find within Yammer or Jive, this spokesperson said. LinkedIn’s upcoming products also appear to be different from Facebook’s long-rumored workplace tool, which the company showed off for the first time Wednesday.

It is part of a larger push by LinkedIn to build more tools for intra-office use, according to a spokesperson. Right now, LinkedIn’s utility is highest when you’re connecting with people outside your company — either looking for a new job or possibly networking within your industry. These types of changes are a way to make the service more valuable for your current job.

The new products also align with a push LinkedIn has made to increase content sharing on the platform. The company redesigned its homepage in December for this very reason.

The other product, which LinkedIn will start testing by the end of the quarter, will help companies share content directly with specific groups of employees.

LinkedIn hopes this direct and targeted sharing will lead to more re-sharing on the platform. For example, if a company wants to hire new mobile engineers, it could share a posting about the company’s engineering philosophy directly to its existing engineers in the hope they will pass it along. The assumption is that those employees will have the most relevant network for that specific message.

LinkedIn is building out a separate app that it hopes employees will use to join groups within their company. Then a company admin can distribute tailored content to those groups. LinkedIn already has a groups feature, but those groups are more about networking; these new groups will be solely dedicated to content sharing within a company.

LinkedIn is also exploring other ways to build this functionality into its existing platform. As part of the tool, employers will be able to track stats on how often content is shared by its employees and to how many people.

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