Safeway builds connections with new intranet tools

With tools in the vein of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Yahoo Answers, the grocery store chain is connecting and rewarding employees.

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Safeway, the second-largest supermarket chain in the United States, is slowly rolling out tools through its intranet that incorporate aspects of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Yahoo Answers.

But don’t call it social media, cautions Dan Pryor, vice president of corporate communications.

“There are a lot of people that panic when they hear, ‘social media,'” he says. “We’re really trying to push it more as a collaborative tool that allows people to share best practices, gather corporate knowledge and reward them for helping others.”

For now, those tools are available in what Pryor calls Safeway’s “backstage environments,” offices and store areas where employees are often on computers. Through their managers, employees who work behind the deli counter or at a register will probably have opportunities to answer co-worker questions soon, he says.

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