Asda’s Green Room

I’d heard great things about Asda’s Green Room, an online portal where Asda staff can get together to find out what’s happening around the company as well as share their own stories, pictures and videos. What excited me most about it was that anyone can join in. The whole shebang is exposed to Asda customers, shareholders, media – anyone with a passing interest in Asda can and is encouraged to take a look around.

Given that I’m hugely interested in what I see as the inevitable convergence of internal and external communications, driven primarily by growth of social media, I had huge expectations when I paid my first visit. First impressions were mint. It looks great and sounds great. So I scratched beneath the surface a little. I have to say, by the time I left I was feeling pretty disappointed.

OK, so it has only been going for about 5 months. Actually 5 months in social media is probably the equivalent in several years in real-time. There are some signs of genuine interaction with ‘colleagues’ (that’s what Asda call their staff) and customers who have commented on the stories posted by the Green Room team. However, many stories have attracted no comments at all.

When you consider that Asda employs over 150,000 people in the UK, 90,000 of whom who are part time (and therefore presumably have a bit more time for social networking) this does not feel like success.

Lifting the bonnet slightly, I then saw that the Green Room’s own Facebook site has only 200 fans and despite almost daily updates, 2 ‘like its’ were the only sign of interaction going back to November 2009. I didn’t see a single comment on any of the wall posts during this time. The Green Room’s Twitter channel only has 51 followers (52 now – hi Steve!).

Please don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love what Asda have done here, it is ground breaking stuff – truly. I’m just a tad disappointed that Asda colleagues do not appear to have embraced the portal with as much enthusiasm as the very capable Green Room Team clearly have.

Watch this space – I intend to find out why.

3 thoughts on “Asda’s Green Room

  1. esle says:

    This is due to the green room not actually having the information needed for colleagues who are part-time or seasonal. Also please don’t presume that the colleagues that have more time for social networking – many have other jobs children, college or university. Do you personally want to be associated via a social network to where you work ? Also if colleagues mention anything that shows the company in bad light they can be fired conceder these facts before feeling disapiointed please

  2. Hi Esle – thank you for your comments 🙂 You are so right about part-time workers. It was cheap shot and I stand corrected!

    Your comments made me take a quick look and the Green Room’s facebook following has multiplied by a factor of 6 since I wrote this post and the Twitter channel has also grown by over a factor of three. I’m delighted to see that The Green Room is thriving and hope that many more companies follow it’s lead!

    On your other points, sadly I’m a bit of a freak and I do like to be associated to my work via social networks. I do of course appreciate that lots of people don’t and that’s also fine by me.

    I also understand that many people fear retribution if they speak out about their employer, however I’d like to believe that no-one is going to lose their job by engaging in respectful, open and honest discussion about their company whether is is positive or negative in sentiment. You can’t please everyone all the time, but on the whole if you look after your staff and treat them well this will be reflected in their reputation as an employer. I always enjoy my trips to my local Asda because the staff there are so friendly; which I take as a sign of a great employer.

    Thanks for your comments!

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