CEO uses “virtual office” to broaden his influence

Delivery company boss chats, blogs with managers who reach supervisors who talk to truckers who make or break the company.

Delivery company boss chats, blogs with managers who reach supervisors who talk to truckers who make or break the company

Recruiters at TNT, the global mail and express delivery company based in the Netherlands, use an employee communication vehicle as bait for new prospects.

On the company Web site, they boast: “‘In touch with Peter’ is one of our initiatives to promote openness and give our people the opportunity to launch their ideas and feedback via a chat with our CEO.”

Maybe the chance to interact with the CEO will motivate someone to join TNT. But that’s not what CEO Peter Bakker had in mind when he started this “virtual office” shortly after he was promoted from his CFO job seven years ago. He simply wanted to engage as many employees as possible, as cheaply and frequently as he could, to help his service company grow.

Launched in 2002, several years before most of us had heard about Web 2.0, Bakker thought of his virtual office—a combination bulletin board, blog and intranet chat room—as “efficient media,” according to TNT media relations director Pieter Schaffels.

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