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What’s the best platform for communicating with a multi-national workforce?

Of course there’s no single answer – but there’s plenty to consider. For instance, did you know that workers in Asia may not understand the concept of online ‘privacy’? And Chinese workers almost certainly won’t have access to Facebook?

These are among the issues to be discussed at this year’s IoIC ‘Insight Seminar’ in London on Thursday November 13, under the title ‘Internal Communication Crossing Cultures’. Full details on the event here

Dr Ana Adi (pictured), head of international development for the media school at Bournemouth University, is one of three speakers lined up for the event and will lead a session on how social media tools can enhance IC, encourage collaboration and boost corporate culture among multi-national and international workforces.

“There are risks and benefits to all tools and digital media,” she tells November’s InsideOut (the FREE online magazine for IoIC members). “If you put information somewhere, whether it’s a noticeboard or the internet, people will see it. But unfortunately, more often than not, because there’s an overflow of information, people don’t view it.

“So, we need to rethink how we bring information to our colleagues. Why should they read and engage with the stuff we’re communicating?”

Ana will assess the benefits and risks of online platforms to help communicators decide what will work for them.

Part of her lecture will look at using Facebook for internal comms. “Why would you switch to a platform like Yammer when you’ve already got a public platform?” she asks.

As the world’s biggest social media network, many employees already use Facebook and, by creating a group, organisations can post information which cannot be seen publicly.

“But you need to know how it works,” says Ana. “For instance, if you just create a page and everybody posts there, it could be seen publicly. Also, you’d need to train employees to manoeuvre between ‘public’ and ‘closed’ posts.”

It can also be complicated by the fact that attitudes can vary across the world and Ana will quote recent research from South East Asia on the concept of privacy.

“It doesn't exist in the same way in many countries there – many don’t have a word for it,” she explains. “In Malaysia, the literal translation of privacy is ‘hiding something’, whereas if you go to Europe or North America people understand immediately why you might want a private space.

“In Asia they don’t have a problem posting things, they feel they have nothing to hide. In Europe and North America they say ‘This is my stuff, why would you be there?’

“These sort of issues need to be discussed before you introduce Facebook for employee communication.”

Institute members can read the full interview with Dr Adi in November's InsideOut. Also in this month’s issue, IoIC Communicator of the Year - Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts – talks about how she created the biggest social network for parents in the UK, we look at how the Listening Into Action is enabling NHS workers to change the way they work, water company United Utilities explains why its bring the ‘outside in’ for employees, and Capita comes under the Sector Spotlight.

IoIC members can read or download the November edition of InsideOut by using their log-in (top right of this website) and then going to the ‘IoIC Knows’ section and selecting ‘Publications’ from the drop-down menu.
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