Nissan Shifts To Social Networking

    October 30, 2007

Nissan has plans to launch a social networking site for its employees over the next several months.

The site will be called N-Square and will connect up to 50,000 of the company’s 180,000 employees globally. Users will be able to create online profiles, blogs, online communities, discussion groups and share data files.

Simon Sproule, the Nissan executive overseeing N-Square says it will provide employees with a way to avoid bureaucratic channels and create new partnerships. "If you want to talk to your boss or your boss’s boss or your boss’s boss’s boss, you set up meetings, you ‘cc’ everyone, you lay out an agenda, maybe even have a pre-meeting to discuss the topic," Sproule told BusinessWeek. "There’s an enormous amount of time spent just to get to talk to somebody."

 Nissan Shifts To Social Networking

Sproule says the inspiration for N-Square came from visiting IBM’s headquarters in Armonk, N.Y. where he saw IBM’s Web based software that allowed employees to share ideas. Sproule believes the social networking site will be worth it because it will connect employees with others who can provide expertise so they can do a better job.

The site could also make employees feel more connected to their jobs. "What we know from research is that one of the primary reasons people stay at the same company is that they’re well tied into the social fabric of the place," says McKinsey & Co. consultant Leigh Weiss. "Companies will often lose top performers because they aren’t sufficiently mentored or connected."