Social Media Policies
In the same 2009 national research study cited in Chapter 2, Russell Herder and Ethos Business Law found that 69 percent of the organizations that they had surveyed did not have a social media policy in place and only 10 percent have conducted relevant training. The study also reported that 40 percent of organizations have blocked access to social networking sites and prohibit their use. In today’s mobile-enabled world, it is somewhat naive for an organization to believe it can actually block the use of social media within its four walls. While it might appear that blocking access would be the safe route to protecting the organization, employees will simply find ways around the ban (either through mobile devices or participating outside the workplace), potentially creating even greater issues in the long term. To truly help mitigate the risks of social media, organizations should define not only a policy but a strategic approach to employee engagement, making this emerging communications medium part of the culture.
What is also surprising is the enormous disconnect between how an employer and employee view social media usage. While both agree that social media can be a risk, the 2009 Deloitte LLP’s Ethics and Workplace Survey indicated that 74 percent of working Americans believe it is easy to damage a brand’s reputation via sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, though relatively few organizations are actively creating strategies and policies. ...