BT to roll out Facebook-style social networking services to UK staff

BT is to roll out Facebook-style social networking services to its 100,000 UK employees, in a move that will allow staff to collaborate on projects whether they are in the office or working remotely.

The telecoms giant said the system, which is based on Microsoft software, would lead to significant gains in productivity and help the organisation keep track of the skills of its workforce.

The project will see each BT employee offered a Facebook-style profile page. It promises to make it easier for BT staff to find the right experts within the company for the projects they are working on. They will be able to see, at a glance, what projects, and even what documents, other members of staff are working on.

Speaking to Personnel Today sister title Computer Weekly, Peter Scott, BT’s chief technology officer, said: “It brings some of the social networking elements into our business. People can expose much more information in real time. It is going to allow people to get plugged into other people and discover what other things are going on, and where the people are with the skills and experience that would help them.”

The move reflects growing awareness among employers of the benefits social media can bring to the workplace. A survey of 3,000 UK workers by recruiter Robert Half today revealed that social network sites are permitted in 63% of respondents’ organisations. More than one-quarter of respondents said it was “important” for employers to have a social media presence.

Phil Sheridan, managing director of Robert Half, said: “Social media can be very beneficial in raising a company’s profile, brand championing, for professional networking and internal communications, if employees are taught to use it appropriately. The technology it is not going to disappear and as the younger generation moves into the workforce, businesses need to be prepared and set out clear social media guidelines.”

For comprehensive analysis on the benefits social media can bring to HR, see our series of articles published during Social Media Week.

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