Tips for Managing Multiple Generations and Cultures in the Workplace
Monday, September 26, 2011
Is It Time For A Social Media Policy?
Thinking back to when I was a training instructor for a Michigan utility company, one of the tasks I had was monitoring the customer service representatives to make sure they were responding properly to inquiries and maintaining a pleasant and professional demeanor. For the most part it was routine and each call was completed in less than five minutes. On occasion, there would be a CSR that made personal calls and some were quite embarrassing for the ear to endure. Of course there were policies against using the company telephone system for personal reasons, but it happened. When it was discovered, the person would be reminded of the corporate policy. There were never any violations involving the computers because back then, (I am a bit embarrassed to admit), computers were nothing more than a cathode ray tube with a black screen and amber letters and numbers, and no Internet! Hard to believe, but it is true. Fast forward to 2011 -- we have Internet gone wild with in your "facebook", swimming in "plenty of fish", shown on "YouTube"and cleaned up and connected on "Linked In". I believe there are so many social networking sites that it defies the imagination. Can people get carried away using social media in the workplace that is often such a part of life in general? You bet! We have all likely heard stories about people who have taken things a bit too far -- sometimes purposely, and sometimes unintentionally. So, is it time for companies to add social media protocol to their policies and procedures manual? You bet! As many companies have discovered, social media can be used as an incredible tool for branding corporate image, promoting products, services, events, educating employees and the general public as well. Therefore, rather construct a rigid policy with a list of what employees CAN NOT do using social media, consider the opposite approach. Think about using the arsenal of the employee base to become an extension of the marketing department. Perhaps consider beginning with engaging all employees in determining what is acceptable and what is not. Identify those employees who are the most savvy and interested in becoming involved in the process,and create outlets for them to add value by using their skills and interests by creating employee blog sites with teams of employee bloggers, or create facebook pages to announce and promote community service activities. Make the authorized use of social media a positive and encouraged activity that contributes to marketing goals and objectives.