Out in the blogosphere, there has been a lot of discussions on employee blogs, and setting up guidelines for employees who might be blogging – even if it’s on their own time. Most of the time, blogging guidelines and policies can be summed up as common sense, but unfortunately, that seems to be in short supply.
Companies also usually have email and Web usage policies in place, that can be summed up with: we own the computer and the network, so don’t use either for personal use. This is especially true with corporate email. Why is this coming up? Well, I am on a few PR groups on Yahoo – mainly to read what young and small PR agency professionals are thinking about, what they are commenting about. It’s a good place to find blog post ideas.
The other day, someone had posted a PR job opportunity for Walmart. Now, love them or hate them, Walmart is still a behemoth and a place that any junior PR person would learn a great deal.
One person commented that he would “rather shoot myself in the head” – a direct quote. Yes, this person apparently would not want to work for Walmart, which is a shame, because it appears he could learn a lot there.
Now, that would have been a fine response – well, not fine, but acceptable – if it weren’t posted on his corporate email account. This person works for a company that has done work for Walmart in the past, and he has just potentially alienated Walmart from using his employer for future projects (pure conjecture on my part, though).
On a list of 2000+ members, though, he had no idea who he might have offended … and by letting everyone know where he works, he might have made a few people pause the next time they were going to hire his firm. If he is badmouthing company X, what is to stop him from badmouthing company Y and agency A?
Should you be monitoring your employees’ Web usage and email usage? Well, that is a little too Big Brother for me, but employees need to understand that every time they hit the “send” button with corporate email, they are representing the company – off-hours or on-hours. And, with newer and younger employees, this needs to be truly emphasized because they might not realize that all actions have consequences.