My background is in HR, but sometimes I have a hard time liking HR people. It’s bad, I know, but it just seems like every time I’m with a group of them I struggle to keep my eyes from rolling and my mouth from telling them to get their heads out of the sand.
I was recently at a state SHRM conference, in a session about using social media to promote your company, and one very lovely, traditional, head in the sand, HR woman made the following statement:
“I just wrote a policy which specifically states that employees are not allowed to use our company name or discuss our company online. Doing so can get them fired.”
My first thought, “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve heard in my entire life”. Here’s why:
- I hate policies that are created for the sake of filling a handbook.
- That statement is so vague that it’s going to keep employees from saying even good things about you online.
- Some of your employees are probably engaging in intellectual, industry specific, cutting edge conversations online and with a policy like that they aren’t going to say that they work for your company. In this case, you’re missing out on a chance to tell the world that you have smart, ambitious, cutting edge employees in your company. A shame.
- While employees who have something good to say about you won’t, those who want to bash you will do so anonymously on sites like Glassdoor.com
- How are future employees supposed to see what it’s like in your company if the only things they can find on the internet are complaints your customers are making and things upset employees are anonymously saying on sites where they’re trashing you?
- In my past life I actually left a company because the Corporate Communications Department was monitoring what employees were saying online and were slapping wrists even when what employees were saying was positive, relevant to industry conversations, and in no way hurting the company. Guess what, they lost a pretty damn good employee because they couldn’t handle the loss of control.
Instead of treating employees like children by writing a blanket policy to save your own butt from the one or two stupid employees who are going to write something dumb, why don’t you educate employes on ways they can use the internet to make your company look good?
Okay, rant over.