Thursday, May 21

Policing Employees: Not Today; Tomorrow

According to a new Deloitte survey recently featured on The Wall Street Journal blogs, 60 percent of managers believe that businesses have a right to know how employees portray themselves or their companies on sites like Facebook and MySpace.

“While the decision to post videos, pictures, thoughts, experiences and observations is personal, a single act can create far reaching ethical consequences for individuals as well as employers," said Sharon Allen, chairman of the board, Deloitte LLP. "Therefore, it is important for executives to be mindful of the implications of this connected world and to elevate the discussion about the risks associated with it to the highest levels of leadership.”

The percentage is lower among employees but still significant. Forty-seven percent believed those managers might be right. However, that number dropped to 37 percent among workers ages 18-34.

It still raises an interesting question. Where does employer representation end and personal privacy end online? And can policing employee behavior backfire when breaches in ethical behavior or common sense are still dependent on titles? After all, the Domino's employees were fired. Yet John Mackey still helms Whole Foods.

Employees are currently left alone to figure it out

• 27% of employees said their companies talk about leveraging social media.
• 22% of employees said their companies have formal guidelines for their use.
• 22% of employees said their leadership team uses social networking to communicate.
• 17% of employees said their company has a program to monitor and mitigate risks.

Still, employees are aware their behavior can damage their companies. Seventy-four percent said it's easy online. For the full report, visit here. What do you think?


Anonymous said...

Not sure what I think, but I suspect many of these same companies are inept when it comes to social media. How do negative strategies aimed at their own employees fit in with a broader, more proactive social media strategy?

WagerWitch on 5/22/09, 4:03 AM said...

I think... that the employee must have privacy in their offtime.

However, if the employee indicates the company in any way - then the employee must face the consequences that can surface from those actions.

In other words - if the employee is promoting their own porn, in their own home - and it is legal in their country/state, and they are of age... Then it is of NO CONCERN of the EMPLOYER.

However, if the employee uses items that clearly say the Employers name on it in the making of the porn - or the employee discusses or shows the employer in any way - then the EMPLOYER then has the right to intercede or take action.

But policing your employees on their offtime while they use a social media - is improper and strictly violates privacy laws.

Rich on 5/24/09, 8:31 AM said...


Such an excellent comment. How can companies profess to support open communication while adding censor to their employees? They cannot.

From our perspective, companies need to realize that social media is less magic and more of what has been going forever. The only difference between disgruntled employees 20 years and today is where they communicate.

I'd rather see companies invest more in internal communication than monitoring employee behavior. WIth solid internal communication, they would have much less to worry about.


Time will tell how much tolerance the public has for private enterprise and government policing the Web. I would like to think they wouldn't stand for it.

What the pizza pranksters did was obviously wrong and a reprimand and/or termination (as they were) was justified. However, the company grossly overreacted in its apologies where as correcting the situation was enough. Mostly, I referenced it here to show that other contrast — management cannot be exempt to behavior that is much more damaging.

As I mention above, a strong internal communication can accomplish better goals. It has always amazed me how many companies what to create external fans but never realize they ought to make fans out of their own employees first.

All my best,

WagerWitch on 5/24/09, 9:24 PM said...

"What the pizza pranksters did was obviously wrong and a reprimand and/or termination (as they were) was justified. However, the company grossly overreacted in its apologies where as correcting the situation was enough. Mostly, I referenced it here to show that other contrast — management cannot be exempt to behavior that is much more damaging."

I actually think Dominoes Corporation exploited the entire scene as a way of advertising.

Yes, it may cut down the brief customer quota at first in disgust or rage - but the NAME BRANDING is significant - especially at Prime Time Television.

In time - the deeds will be forgotten - but the COMPANY LOGO, NAME will not.

So they abused the average - and used it.

Just my humble opinion on that take.

Again - you're absolutely correct, the general public will decide that policing the internet is NOT the business of the companies.

HOWEVER - it may be too late to do anything about it by the time they figure out how much the government already polices the internet.


HiLDoMe on 5/25/09, 2:27 PM said...

Well I think employees really need to have a bit of privacy...

i'm a student but currently i'm also working on a company and there are m oments when I really wish i was on a room for myself... they check everytime, i'm sure they look what websites we've been on and they make us do like a "each day blog" and write down what we do each day...

I think that's not a good system... because they don't stimulate the employees... when they're relax they work better and they are much more productive.. I think.


Rich on 5/26/09, 9:55 AM said...


Dominos exploited the incident? You could be right. It was an over-the-top apology.

As for the government, it seems they are too busy making their own coverage to be concerned about citizens. For now.


I think you are right. It makes a lot more sense to ease employees into knowing what the company is about than being worried that they might "guess" wrong.

Define the company inside and their communication outside will reinforce it without fear of saying the wrong thing. Of course, that's just a hunch. :)


The Reviewer on 5/27/09, 2:02 PM said...

Rich - one day --- probably soon, I'll let you in on a BIG secret about corruption and local government-run police departments. I'm assuming that it will make media headlines soon - and I'll key you in to it.

But Government, both big and small - are omnipresent in all of our lives, especially in telecommunications, email and I believe in ways that invade your privacy.

Since they can do it - and since they are ALSO employers - they are the BIGGEST invaders of privacy.

At this point in time, in my own life - I have determined that Sometimes what we think is private - is not.

Rich on 5/30/09, 6:27 PM said...


I love secrets, especially those that come my way before they break in the news. :)



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