Corporate training for employees about social networking and how to use social network sites can be tricky. Of course you want to be sure to comply with NLRB guidelines with regards to employee rights, yet you also need to be sure to protect the company.
How do you utilize social networking sites for a company while minimizing risks? There are two major components:
- Have a social media policy in place.
- Assure compliance with the policy through corporate training.
With social media and social networks taking an increased importance with connecting with customers, avoiding the issue may not be an option much longer. There are definite advantages and disadvantages to a social networking initiative, and yet, understanding the risks versus rewards is complicated.
There is not a "one-size-fits-all" solution for all companies. What works for one company may not be suitable in another industry. Having a social media policy and working with a corporate training consultant may help to construct guidelines as well as convey these to your organization to limit liability.
Social networking platforms can be used to improve communication and productivity. When used correctly, it can be an effective messaging platform among internal groups and teams, and can have the result of enhancing team building strategies and supporting corporate training initiatives greatly.
Advantages of Social Networking:
- Facilitates information discovery, sharing, and content.
- Creates a forum for discussion of ideas, sharing questions and posting links to references.
- Provides a method to connect geographically distant employees.
- Can be utilized to connect with individuals external to the organization.
- Opens communication with resources and talent and can be a recruiting and vetting media.
- Improves ability of the company to connect with consituents and consumers.
- Can be a method to track customer concerns and complaints before they become viral.
- Important way to communicate with prospects and gain exposure for company.
- Window to consumers that can effectively be a market research tool.
Disadvantages of Social Networking:
- Opens infrastructure to the possibility of being hacked.
- Increases risk of spam or viral attacks on the IT infrastructure.
- May increase potential for data or identity theft.
- May result in breech of confidential information by employees about the company.
- Could have legal consequences if employees view illicit material.
- May actually reduce productivity if employees are spending too much time on social networking.
Corporate training on how to use social networking correctly is preferred to a ban all computer activity unrelated to work. Corporate training can reinforce a comprehensive policy. Effective training minimizes abuse and increases the potential upside to utilizing social networking sites.
What may be the most concerning aspect of social networking platforms is that they encourage people to share personal information. Even the most cautious and well-meaning individuals can give away information they should not; the same applies to what is posted on company-approved social networking platforms.
Corporate training for an organization will increase awareness by employees regarding their actions online, and how innocent comments may compromise company security. Education about clicking on unknown links or downloading applications through social sites and the ramifications for the IT infrastructure can go a long way to addressing the issues involved in these activities. Having a policy in place that's supported by corporate training is critical to avoiding behaviors that can put the organization's information technology system at risk.
Organizational training goes even further in improving awareness and discouraging rogue activities than an edict. Just having rules in place does not mean that associates understand why they need to follow them. Assuring comprehension of the risks of not following corporate guidelines through corporate training has a much higher effectiveness quotient than just banning the activity or sending out a companywide memo.