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French resistance to social media?

One of the reasons that social media style platforms are being adopted for internal communications is that they help turn the company into a community. Not only is work-related communication improved, but bonds are formed, personalities are expressed and employees engage more with the company.

In my opinion, this would be a disadvantage in French companies. In the UK, employees are encouraged to fraternise with each other, to share non-work interests, to form social bonds outside the office. The idea is broadly that a happy employee is a productive one. In France, however, the view is a little different.

In order to build authority and avoid conflicts, we like to draw a clear line between our work lives and our personal lives. It’s quite typical, for example, to only invite colleagues around for dinner once they have left the company. It’s just how it is. So I believe an internal Facebook-style community would face some resistance from French employees who do not want to be seen discussing non-work-related issues – especially not so openly.

So if internal social media means simply using the tools to share work-related information, that’s fine. But if the intention is to build a social community, I fear there may be a ‘non’ from many French employees.