You’ve probably heard stories about employees innocently posting inflammatory remarks, offensive jokes, or business sensitive updates on social media sites.
And you’ve probably already figured out that, the more employees you have, the more likely you are to have someone post something publicly that could put your company at legal or financial risk.
Worse, you can’t just blame it all on “the kids” because a lot of unfortunate posts come from people you’d think would know better (and because, saying “the kids” just makes you seem old).
Possibly the Longest. List. Ever.
As a refresher, here’s a list of all the things that will endanger your company on a social network—um, actually it might be easier to do a list of things that won’t endanger your company:
1. 1.) Tweeting about how much you love your company
2. 2.) Posting on Facebook how much you love your work
3. 3.) Liking the Company’s photo on Instagram
You get the point. Frankly, regrettable posts happen all the time and — even with the best employee training — there’s almost no way to entirely prevent them. The reason is that people are inherently social and need an outlet for those impulses. That’s why there’s an outlet called Enterprise Social Networking (ESN).
“But Mike, you just said social networking was dangerous! What if the same shenanigans happen in there, too?!”
Good question! But just take a deep breath, relax and let me address it already.
Inappropriate content sucks.
If you’re worried about inappropriate content popping up on your company newsfeed, I am here to tell you to let it go (worrying causes wrinkles, fyi). In addition to all the other benefits of using an ESN, you get a place where company issues can be addressed appropriately in a business-like manner.
When an employee is posting to the company news feed — where anyone could potentially read it — the tone changes from “Check out these horrible looking uniforms my employer is making me wear!” to “The new uniform is extremely unflattering to certain body shapes, could we discuss some changes?”
See? The first comment would (and probably should) get someone fired. The second comment would start a constructive discussion and find a solution that would make employees happier at work. The business nature of an enterprise social network forces people to govern themselves for the sake of job preservation.
When was the last time you saw an inappropriate post on your LinkedIn feed? Most likely, never. Because when people know that their business reputation is at risk, they’re a lot more careful about what they say, and how they say it.
Viva la Revolution!
So what happens if a company problem starts getting a lot of attention on your social software? Do you hear the people sing? Singing a song of angry men?! (Les Mis reference!) No, probably not. On an ESN, dissent is good. It means that employees are venting inside the company, instead of to the outside world.
Not only do small issues not fester and become huge problems, they present you with the opportunity to fly in and save the day! Say your employees are expressing frustration with the company 401k plan or other issue. Without an ESN, you might never know anyone had a problem until it was too late.
With an ESN, you’d not only know about the problem, you’d have time to do something about it before it becomes a disaster. You could engage in the conversation, help resolve the issue, and be a super hero (cape optional). No company is perfect, so issues occur at every level. Closing your eyes and ears simply isn’t a longterm solution.
You’ve faced your phobias.
Hopefully, you now realize that an ESN is nothing to be afraid of (snakes are entirely another matter). Enterprise social networking works like a private intranet inside your company; employees get the freedom to express their thoughts, concerns, and ideas without simultaneously exposing the company to bad PR or government subpoenas.
That’s all the time we have this week…
Now that I’ve addressed and assuaged all your concerns and fears — yes, I said “assuaged” — you may be feeling overwhelming excitement about enterprise social networking. That’s perfectly understandable. Just take that excitement and focus it right here.
If you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave them as a comment and we will get to them as soon as we can.