Social media is here to stay. Does it bother you that your staff can ‘tweet’ your building evacuation, update their facebook status regarding your fraud case and blog what they think about your layoff policy? It should.
It’s not just rolling news from the media, it’s your own people telling the world what they think is going on. And we use the word ‘think’ deliberately, because often people tweet and update on the fly, before they really know what’s going on.
Can you do anything about it?
Realistically, not very often. It’s worth thinking about including explicit reference to social media in employment contracts. Many contracts include a clause to ensure that staff aren’t allowed to bring the organisation into disrepute, so you may want to consider whether it would help or hinder to include some words around this including social media platforms, even where the employees believe they aren’t visible to the public (after all, what constitutes ‘public’!).
However, many organisations won’t think about this sort of concern until the proverbial horse has bolted, i.e. when it’s already happened. So what can be done?
If you have a press office, or contract help in press or PR, speak to them as soon as you can. Find out if they’ve got a strategy for such things, and if there is anything that you can do to assist. (Sometimes asking the question is needed to prompt them to consider it!)
And don’t forget, Twitter and other social networking platforms work both ways: you can use them too. The BBC is just one example of an organisation that puts its emergency information for employees on Twitter, amongst other platforms.
Do you have any thoughts on this? Did a particular policy work for you?
Do comment below if you can contribute to the discussion.
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