Can you stop employees talking online?

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You’ll know that a lot of the people who work in an industry know each other. They may have worked together before, they meet up in the pub and at other events, and they may even have relationships with people in other businesses. So your employees may know a lot more about your competitors than you do! They will know who is paying well, who is having trouble, what is going on in the market. But this information will not be available to a controlling employer who sees their employees as gofers rather than as useful sources of information. Some employers don’t want their employees to use Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook because they don’t think they can control what is said about them or they may be poached by other firms. Employees may say things in a pub or in a phone call but a comment on Twitter or Facebook could be seen by absolutely anyone. These are legitimate concerns that your employees could damage your reputation using social media. The fact is, they are online, whether you like it or not and they could do this anyway. Your employees might be saying damaging things about you right now. Wouldn’t it be great if you could change this and have your employees saying great things about you online, right now? Wouldn’t it be useful if they were representing your company, in a way that can be found by customers who are looking for reliable service? Wouldn’t that be powerful? The way to manage your brand reputation is to have a professional relationship with your employees, one built on mutual respect and trust. Such a relationship requires:
  • A contract of employment
  • Practical conduct policies
  • Employees who know what is expected of them in terms of professional behaviour
  • Employers who support their employees in career development and fulfilment
You can teach your employees how to manage their privacy online, and how to ensure they don’t inadvertently bring your business into disrepute (breaking their contract of employment). The difficult thing is for employers to accept is that your employees are one of your most effective client-winning tools. Everything they do in an email or phone call is a reflection of your brand reputation and that your employees are an asset in which you must invest, or they will move to a firm that invests in them better.

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