Summary: Companies are beginning to fire employees for blogging? (w/ stats) — larger picture is “communication tools” not just blogs that should concern employers — what are corporate blogging guidelines?
Statistics (Poll — 308 U.S. companies with more than 1,000 employees):
10% of companies fired an employee for violating corporate blogging or message board policies
19% of companies have disciplined an employee for the same infractions
33% of companies employ staff to read or otherwise analyze outbound email
15% of companies hired people whose primary function is to spy on outgoing corporate email
25% of companies fired an employee for violating corporate email policies
30% of companies had been ordered by a court or a regulator to turn over employee emails
(Source: Wired study)
While all of us corporate blog evangelists (including me, my friends — Mack, Jeremiah and their friends) go about evangelizing the benefits of corporate blogging and how imperative it is to be a part of the conversation, some of us are getting fired … for blogging! Let’s set the facts straight. The above stats refer not solely to blogging but rather to a diaspora of communication tools available to corporate America. So, what are possible ways that employees communicate with one another and to the world in general:
2. Discussion forums (Yahoo! Groups, Facebook groups)
3. Blogs (corporate and personal)
4. Instant messaging tools (Y! IM, MSN, Google Talk)
5. Twitter, Jaiku (mini-blog/broadcast tools)
6. Tomorrow, it could be another tool.
What should I do? (employer/employee)
Start a corporate blog! Ha ha. You almost fell for that one.
Most large organizations, I’m sure have a concerted corporate communications policy to deal with infractions that could hurt their billion dollar brand. As far as a corporate blog is concerned, if you decide to allow corporate blogging either within your websites or if you allow your employees to blog, the best way would be for you to craft the guidelines and let them know about it beforehand, so you won’t have to take the extreme step of firing them. Let’s face it, hiring is probably one of the most time consuming and critical decisions you take as a manager and you wouldn’t want to undo all that hard work by not implementing effective guidelines. I wonder what my corporate blogger friends from large corporations like Dell (Lionel Menchaca) and Intel (Ken Kaplan) think of all this.
Here is a perfect guiding principle as far as corporate blogging guidelines are concerned
All of the 8 most well-known corporate blogging policies agree — corporate bloggers are personally responsible and they should abide by existing rules, keep secrets and be nice. Those four principles are the core of today’s corporate blogging rules. (Source: Corporate Blogging Info)
Update: Nate Anderson from ars technica points out the cultural/international differences in corporate blogging perceptions across the globe
That study also revealed intriguing cultural differences between continents. Only 2.5 percent of the included European companies use a corporate blog, a number that was more than doubled in Asia, where 5.5 percent of companies use them. In the US, that number jumps to a whopping 14 percent. Clearly, American executives have gotten the memo that customers and shareholders like to know what’s going on with the firm, and like to see a human face instead of a corporate facade.
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