BT unifies internal social networking platforms – choosing Workplace over Yammer

BT’s Facebook Workplace platform has received in excess of 3 million reactions and nearly 1 million comments since its launch in 2019

Launched within the telecoms giant in 2019, BT has decided to get behind Workplace from Facebook as it seeks to unify its internal social networking platforms.

According to CloudPro, the company has already seen three million reactions and 970,000 comments on the platform. It has been rolled out to 80,000 employees across 54 countries.

News from Workplace by Facebook has been relatively quiet of late. The introduction of new features to the platform was announced during the second quarter of the year, but BT’s public recognition of its decision to get behind the platform, and drop its use of Microsoft’s Yammer is significant.

The platform is being used to connect BT employees, including external employees at Openreach and engineers, enabling them to stay informed while working in the field.

BT’s director of Internal Communications Helen Willett said that “Workplace was a simple choice for BT”, describing it as “mobile-friendly, easy to use and intuitive”. But more than that, it’s culture-enhancing. Leaders can talk to their teams in a matter of seconds and the peer-to-peer benefits include enabling a sense of belonging, instant access to news, and a way to solve problems collaboratively.

“Perhaps most importantly, having Workplace has made it so much easier for us to stick to our principle of ‘inside out’ – letting our colleagues know what’s happening, increasing trust and, in turn, advocacy. Sometimes we have a matter of minutes to reach our people – Workplace allows us to do that, and to do it well.”

BT CEO Philip Jansen said that the platform is allowing the company to aim for a “fast-paced, inclusive and empowering” future.

“We’ve seen many benefits including being able to share news instantly, gather feedback on subjects that our people care about, and enabling more authentic leadership communications,” he said, adding that the platform has also “strengthened” the company’s communities across BT and Openreach.

“Through Workplace, colleagues connect with each other on the things that matter, sharing ideas and problem-solving together in real-time. That is hugely beneficial to our colleagues and customers, and therefore to BT as a whole.”

Marc Wright, Founder of simply-communicate, worked with Philip Jansen when he was at Telewest, and notes a word of caution over the move.

“Philip has always been a direct and enthusiastic communicator and I can see how Workplace would really help amplify his messages and make him more accessible. However I doubt whether the platform will deliver better collaboration and innovation. Workplace cannot take the place of an intranet or a personalised digital workplace; it is one-size fits all and does not integrate easily with the Microsoft stack which is where work gets done at BT.”



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