Managing the ‘Ever Social’ Employee: A Challenge?

‘The grapevine is stronger than the official memo and today, the vine rules!’

If you’ve heard the phrase ‘Trust in God but lock your car’, you’ll get what we are putting across when we say that it is always a wise decision to resolve the query and not the question. In the wired digital age that we live in, our personal and professional lives are no longer distinct. This holds true for companies and brands as well. What makes this something to ponder about is the fact that employees are talking about their companies, bosses, products, processes and more; online and if this chatter isn’t positive, it can impact a company bottom line in more ways than one!

Managing one employee who is abusing social platforms while on the payroll may be manageable. But how can you even think about tracking and monitoring a team of 10,000? Don’t fret! Here’s what companies can do.

S-P-E-L-L it out?

When a new member joins the team, there has to be a Social Media Policy in place from the word ‘go’. One that clearly differentiates the Do’s and the Don’ts. Sensitizing your staff towards what the right online etiquette might be is the first step. The knowledge that there is a company policy keeps the employees’ responses in check. And not having one is like giving your employer brand out on a platter.

Coffee Confidential!

When clarifications are made before hand, the risk of repercussions after, tend to reduce. If an employee is aware of why certain actions could be harmful to the company or to his/her career, one becomes more cautious and refraining becomes easier. Oh Yes! We Live in a Democracy. People will say what they want. But, employees are wise enough to judge the pros and cons of their actions. Raising restrictions on ‘each-and-every’ statement is being autocratic and encroaching upon privacy. Instead, set the limitations such that nobody has to worry about any misconducts.

Being sensitive to being stupid.

Many employees may find it hideous and irrespective of the policy, there will be a handful that simply refuse to be obligated. The trick is to ‘Keep calm & train’. Discuss case studies, make them aware of how a single statement can be damaging.

Patience is a virtue.

Inculcating a new office culture involves a bit of tactfulness on your behalf as well. Being diligent is the key. If employees make an effort to adapt, be kind enough to guide them with understanding and some bonus time to adjust and clean up their profile. The most common mistakes versus the most hazardous ones. Turning the tables to your advantage should be the ultimate goal. Equip your employees with the knowledge to avoid petty errors.

The bounty hunter.

Yes! By all means, trust your employees, but make sure you do your bit when it comes to social listening. Install filters in the IT system that are programmed to report threatening keywords and alert the respective authority. Create an action plan with provisions for a hands on team to make instant amends.

Practice what you preach.

A Social Media policy should be common and applicable to all. In order to lead, you need to first set an ideal example and be fair. If senior managers and leads do not adhere to the norms, how can you expect others to follow suit?

Build a Dialogue

Lastly, remember that we live in world surrounded by a workforce that wants to be involved in “what’s going on” in their company. They are constantly on the lookout for channels to establish a dialogue. With You [The Brand] of course! With the growth of social media and an influx of fresh and young talent, it is but a fact that employees are talking about their employers more than ever. So go ahead, communicate to connect.

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Asif Upadhye is Chief Fun Officer, Never Grow Up. Armed with business management degrees from reputed colleges of India, Asif started his career in Marketing and Communications within the Financial Sector. He has over seven years of experience in Marketing & Product Management of Financial products wherein he has worked across business lines in companies like HDFC Ltd (Brand Communications), HSBC Bank (Product and Marketing - Retail Assets) and Barclays Bank PLC (Product and Marketing - Retail Liabilities Business) before taking the entrepreneurial leap to found Never Grow Up in 2010.
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