This summer’s protests in Tehran have made it clear to both political and business leaders the reality that there is no hiding in the Internet age. Like it or not, transparency is a growing fact of life; you and your company can be discussed on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, and thousands of other places – whether you know about it or not. What’s an employer to do? Here are some suggestions:
- Go to Google Alerts http://www.google.com/alerts and enter in your company info and perhaps that of officers as well. Schedule a weekly alert for any time your company is mentioned on the Web.
- Make it clear that employees should not engage in non-business activities during working hours. Of course, they may use their own communication devices during breaks and lunch periods or in true emergencies – but that’s it!
- Help educate employees on sensible guidelines when using electronic media. Remind them that anything posted can live forever and can be communicated to thousands, if not millions, of users in seconds. There’s no “undoing” a regrettable message. See the HR That Works Internet Usage policy.
- When employees discuss the company on any public Web sites, they should indicate that they’re giving their personal opinion, and not that of the company.
- Employees should not use company logos, trademarks, or other branding in their messages without company permission.