Posted by admin | Posted in Policy Blog | Posted on 19-07-2011
Employers do You Have Policies and Procedures in Place Regarding Employees Postings on Blogs ?
It can pass as the most widely used means of self expression on the internet today. Web Logs or blogs as widely known have become an integral part of the way people propagate ideas, concepts, products and services without fear of “breaking the rules” or “a code of conduct”. Blogs are used by individuals and organizations to post information from news, opinions, gossip and photos about business, politics, economy and communities.
You may be surprised to know that the number of blogs has been growing tremendously in the recent past Blog herald, a Blog authority “, indexed the startling count of 50Million blogs as of the end of May 2006. Even at that point the growth of blogs and the Blog count was almost logarithmic with no end in site. No doubt about it there are tons of blogs out there of every shape and description , the growth is phenomenal , No doubt some of your employees are out there “Blogging ” which at the very least not only involves their home , family and personal lives but events and personalities at work , no doubt.
One of the reasons behind this rapid increase in blogging is the ease with which blogs are created. Anyone with basic computes skills and something to write about would be up and running with a blog in less than 10 minutes, thanks to the many free blog auto creation software and templates being offered by internet entrepreneurs including he mighty Google.
Interestingly, and perhaps not surprisingly, blogs seem appeal more to the younger generation. It has been estimated that 60 % of all bloggers are less than 19 years of age. It is very safe to say that blogs will become more relevant to businesses as all these younger bloggers come of age and join the work force in the coming years. Most blogs can be considered quite harmless. In fact the sign of a progressive business is one that embraces blogs and blogging as an effective means to of communicating in an interactive innovative manner. Likewise, blogs can be leveraged to conduct market research on trends as well as conduct customer research. Remember the rule that 80 % of your business comes from 20 % of your customers. Blogs can be an inexpensive way to target and interface for that vital 20 % of your customer base.
The freedom availed by blogging has opened floodgates of good and bad blogging behavior.
Employers need to be wary of their employee’s blogging activities. Current and former employees may use blogs to among other things engage in copyright violations, defamations, reprisals or even divulge corporate strategy and trade secrets to competitors.
The shocking reality sis that Blogs, once published remains on the internet until it is edited deleted or the server computer on the other side of the world which is hosting the Blog is no longer online. While on the internet, the Blog is both public to anyone anywhere in the world with internet access and may lead to unimaginable consequences for business or individuals. Seemingly innocuous information can be the final link in a competitor’s puzzle or can be used for “social engineering “to trick staff into divulging vital corporate information to outsiders pretending to be staff members. One need not have the keys anymore to the plant – just information.
Seemingly harmless information on the Blog can even be used to guess passwords. The more people use their address, birthday as well as wives, kids or dog’s name for email and security passwords, the easier it becomes for fraudsters to hack into their private information which may be very dangerous.
In order to protect your business from damaging employee blogs and to reduce the risk of falling to bloggers damaging content, the following steps would be advisable;
First, create an environment where information and ideas are freely exchanged in your organization. This will allow employees with personal issues and opinions to feel free to express them within the parameters of the organization. It would be much easier to deal with it here than when its goes to the web.
Secondly, reference blogging in employee policy handbooks to promote responsible blogging. If your employees are already in the blogging culture; insist that employees place disclaimers on their personal blogs
Also, require employees to sign a non-disclosure contract as a standard in employment. And ensure that older employees as well as new hires are required to sign this form.
As part of this policy make it clear that release of confidential corporate information is legal grounds for immediate dismissal from the firm and set policies and guidelines that prohibit employees from publishing defamatory blogs about your business, co-workers or clients.
Blogs are an emerging reality in the workplace. Progressive businesses would be well advised to take note and take steps to protect their vital business, employees and customers as well as their image and reputation.
Blogs are a powerful tool in today’s business climate which can be used for good or bad. It one case , according to senior H.R. staff and management it took only one “moron and idiot” , one blog post to undo and erase the effort of a myriad of the most dedicated of staff , over a long period of time , all in the flash of an uncaring moment.