“It isn’t good news.”
By Jean Young, ISM Vice President
ISM first publically addressed the issue of a social media policy (an ever-changing guideline for employees communicating in the online world) in a well-attended webinar held last year. For ISM Senior VP Kathy Barton’s November 13 webinar on Social Media Communities, she asked me for an update. It isn’t good news.
• Gartner reports 60% of employers are monitoring – or planning to monitor – employee use of social media networking.
• A DLA Piper study reports one third of employers disciplined employees for social media postings.
The employer-employee divide reflects an unwillingness to spend the time and effort to establish workable guidelines. It is a two-way street but many corporate leaders are taking an easy way out with a ban or monitoring “solution”.
Providing guidance is the National Labor Relations Board’s escalating role in defining when an employer can and cannot “fire” an employee for social media behavior. Increasingly, legal is the advisor on what is or isn’t acceptable employee social media behavior.
But legal advice and banning/monitoring social media behavior will not solve the issue. Looking forward to 2013, corporate and organization leaders must focus on an employee base entrenched in social media networking. The challenge is to harness – through a team process – yes, I said team — the social media side of employees’ lives. This may already be happening. The Piper study had one piece of good news: 39% of employers are using social technologies for employee communication and engagement; 42% for recruitment; and 28% percent for team working.
Yes, they said “team”.