Wanna be your friend

Veolia Transport is turning the tables on social media naysayers, encouraging employee ‘facebooking’

Wanna be your friend
Wanna be your friend

By Sean Muir | August 30, 2012

While Facebook is often blamed for lost productivity in the workplace, Veolia Transport is turning the tables by using social media to communicate with employees during out of work hours.

Leading passenger transport company Veolia Transport Australasia is set to begin a trial using Facebook as an internal communication channel, allowing staff to access company information and engage with the company outside of normal work hours.

Veolia Transport Australasia Corporate Affairs Director Mark Paterson says the initiative was spurred following a recent survey of more than 3000 staff members who mostly supported the idea.

"They gave us some feedback in a survey last year that they would be happy to get information about the company through social media – because then they can view that information in their own time, using their own resources," Paterson says.

"It’s an experiment we want to see how it goes."

The trial will begin next month at Veolia’s head office in Victoria, its Queensland business, and its Western Australian business.

Paterson says if the trial goes well it will be rolled out across the country.

"Assuming the trial is successful, people use it, and there are no adverse impacts, we will be looking to roll it out to the rest of the business," Paterson says.

"There are always some risks obviously with this sort of thing, but our intention would be to roll it out by the end of the year to the whole crew."

Paterson says the communication channel will not replace current mediums used by the company such as noticeboards, toolbox talks and newsletters, and employees will not be obligated to use the social media.

"We realise not everyone likes Facebook and has an iPhone," Paterson says.

"But the good thing is now we are not tied to only providing information to staff or having interaction with staff when they are in the office, we are not forcing people to do this, but for people who want to engage with the company outside work hours they can do so through this sort of medium."

As part of the trial, Veolia will also launch a Twitter account to communicate with external stakeholders of the company.

"That is more about talking to the community in general, sharing news about the country, also potentially raising issues people might want to talk about," he says.

"The whole point of that is to make it interactive."

Veolia Transdev Australasia (VTDA), a Veolia Transdev company, has a team of more than 3,600 employees working on train, bus, coach, ferry, light rail and monorail transport services across Australia and New Zealand.

Partnered with local government, public authorities and private companies, the company delivers over 85 million passenger journeys every year on around 1,290 vehicles and vessels.

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