Friday, September 04, 2009

Tell the Boss: We Need A Social Networking Policy

At a recent PRSA San Antonio Luncheon Program focusing on Ethics, speakers Dr. K. Matthew Gilley (St. Mary’s University Chair of Bill Greehey Chair in Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility) and Earnie Broughton (executive director and ethics program coordinator for USAA), referenced a recent survey by Deloitte CCL called Social Networking and Reputational Risk in the Workplace.
The findings of this survey offer public relations practitioners a clear challenge.

  • 58% of executives said that reputational risk and social networking should be a boardroom issue. Only 15% said IT ACTUALLY IS.
  • 74% of employees responding to the survey said it is easy to damage a brand's reputation.
Even more frightening are the statistics from executives that highlight recognizing and responding to risks.
  • Only 17% had a monitoring or mitigating program in place.
  • 22% cited a formal poicy for how employees can use social networking tools.
How can you get executives to take notice or "elevate the discussion" on social networks which Deloitte's study suggests?

First, share the results of this study and take responsibility for taking the discussion with senior management to the next level. After that, do our homework. Spend some time researching policies designed and implemented by other organization (You're bookmarking them in delicious, aren't you?). You will no doubt find organizations of a similar size or culture who have started. That's a great place for you to start in your organization, too.

Finally, expand the dialogue to include other stakeholders. Get a group of your employees, customers and clients together an assess what common questions and practices are already happening. Find a way to harness it.

Last, come back here and tell us how you did it and what your new policy looks like. We can all learn from each other's success.