Insights into effective social media policies


Last week I was part of a panel on the SkyBusiness Technology Behind Business program discussing corporate social media policies, comprised of Peter Williams of Deloitte, Adrienne Unkovitch of Workplace Guardian, and myself.

Here are some of the key points made during our discussion.

* Example of Commonwealth Bank which introduced social media policies that impinged on staff’s personal rights, and quickly reversed them based on the response.

* Executives have less control than they before. It is case by case as to whether social tools such as Facebook or Twitter should be banned or enabled, depending on its relevance to the job being performed – in many cases they do support value creation.

* Peter Williams of Deloitte will only hire people who have strong Twitter profiles. Deloitte actively encourages staff to use social networks. These tools are better than anything we’ve seen before at allowing professionals to connect.

* Allowing use of social media attracts Gen Y staff. It is part of their life, and their use of it can benefit the business.

* There is a divide between the senior managers who explore, use, and understand social media, and those who are not even trying to understand it.

* The increasing divergence in performance in organisations is significantly driven by their ability to attract talented staff.

* The issue is largely about the company’s trust of staff. Professionals don’t react well to lack of trust. Managers are responsible for responding to inappropriate behaviors rather than putting up roadblocks.

* Deloitte’s social media policy is “Don’t diss the firm, don’t discuss confidential information, don’t diss your colleagues, and if you’re not sure what would your Mum say?” Staff are encouraged to use Yammer to say if they’re not happy with company products or practices.

* Social media policy is not different from HR or other policies. The culture of the organisation will be exposed through social media tools.

* Today media is everything, encompassing almost all economic activity.

  • Ross,

    Thanks for sharing this insightful conversation. I would like to add the following research highlighting another aspect of the issue:

    Freedom to surf: workers more productive if allowed to use the internet for leisure:

    Please note particularly:

    “People who do surf the Internet for fun at work – within a reasonable limit of less than 20% of their total time in the office – are more productive by about 9% than those who don’t,”



    • Thanks Arie! I hadn’t seen this research – very interesting.

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  • Great article. Helps a lot. Thanks for that.

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