August 21, 2018 By FTI Consulting
In recent months companies have been condemned for both taking action against employees for their social media behaviour, and ironically for not taking action against employees for their personal social media behaviour.
Social media is an incredible communication tool for both businesses and individuals but, as these issues highlight, it does present organisations with both internal and external risks that can impact brand reputation, compliance and productivity.
There are countless examples of employees going rogue online and damaging not only their own reputation, but the reputation of the business they work for.
It is imperative, across every aspect of business, for organisations to anticipate risk and effectively mitigate or manage it. A social media risk mitigation strategy will not only protect your business but also employees, as expectations for online behaviour are clearly defined and understood. Without these policies and procedures in place, it can be a minefield dealing with the repercussions of a viral scandal.
Social media allows everyone the ability to publish online. There are both positives and negatives to this, but in terms of employees and risk, it is worth considering that depending on their channel of use (and privacy restrictions notwithstanding), businesses need to consider that each employee is capable of publishing content that can be viewed globally and potentially tied back to the business.
Some key risks associated with social media publishing are:
A strong governance program will mitigate social media risk.
It is safe to assume that a majority, in many cases virtually 100%, of an organisation’s employees will use social media in some form. By proactively managing the organisation’s expectations and restrictions for engaging on social media, the associated risks can be minimised..
Governance programs should include, as a minimum:
A social media governance program, combined with a social media strategy, will provide clear guidance on mitigating the risk associated with employees’ regular use of social media in both a personal capacity and a professional capacity representing the business. Without these policies and procedures in place it is difficult for a business to navigate escalation procedures should an issue arise.