Employee Access to SM Sites: Good or Bad Idea?

Even though the Valley PR blog hasn’t published in more than a year, much of its content remains relevant in today’s communications world. Social media, as discussed in our blog before, is a definite sticking point in many ways: How to use it effectively, how to ensure its appropriateness, how to deal with blunders – the list goes on.

Employee communication (an area specific to our team’s campaign) deals with social media differently than other communication areas. It (usually) has a say in how employees use social media, with a policy for both internal and external use. Often corporations block social media use from employees’ computers.

Len Gutman weighs in on the issue on the Valley PR blog, arguing that blocking social media sites is a pointless way to try to manage employees’ time, and the blocks are created within a company in such a way that no one knows where they came from and how to get around them. Instead of using social media as a tool to spread accurate and credible information about a company (again, this applies to our campaign for APS in teaching employees how to become “ambassadors” for the company), they’re restricting the use of social media, which may have the opposite intended effect and lead to employee dissatisfaction.

In sum, companies should focus on teaching corporate reputation, considering that banning social media at work won’t prevent employees from using it altogether. With smart phones, tablets and a variety of other Internet-connected devices that employees can use at their desks, it’s highly unlikely that an employee will be significantly hindered from using it just because they can’t get on the sites on their desktop computers.

In order to avoid employees posting inappropriate information that could damage an organization’s reputation, companies should provide employees access to webinars about corporate reputation and adequate, up-to-date information about the company that they can use to answer questions via social media.

With everyone’s cooperation, social media can be a constructive tool rather than a hindrance. Do you think blocking social sites is an effective way for employee communicators to ensure protection of corporate reputation?

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