Social networking in the work place

There are many barriers to the take up of social networking tools, and Enterprise 2.0, within organisations.  One of the big ones is fear, which in part is due to a lack of understanding of the tools and a lack of governance. A couple of days ago ComputerWorld published a story about the six commandments of social networks at work which starts to provide a framework for governance.

  1. Thou shalt present yourself respectfully and honestly
  2. Thou shalt ask: Do I want to explain this to an employer in 10 years? Or to my boss now?
  3. Thou shalt set boundaries
  4. Thou shalt not limit thy employees’ time on social networks
  5. Thou shalt not leave thy employees to founder, but lay down workplace guidelines
  6. Thou shalt remember: We are all still figuring this out

The list is a good start but does not deliver the details required not to mention it flips between what individuals should do (1-3, & 6) and what organisation should do (4-6) which makes it a little confusing.

Every organisation should be looking at governance of these tools, but remembering that while the technology is new’ish the issues are not. For example most major organisation already have medai guidelines for when senior employees are talking to the media, and acceptance use of internet policies. Both of these documents would form the basis of a governance framework for social network/media tools in the workplace. I say a basis as they need to completely reworked to suit the connective nature of social networks and media and the fact the employees will be contributors online not just consumers.

3 thoughts on “Social networking in the work place

  1. Michael, interesting one.
    I view this as a paradox, on one hand we call it networking and on the other hand we try to regulate it.
    Social networks would grow in my opinion if they are given the freedom to grow.
    I dont know what role would HR play in policy formulation, but like a few other bloggers, I too see a Chief Blogging officer to coordinate such activities coming into being. I had written about it a few months back, here
    http://amitavasthi.blogspot.com/2008/05/blogger-in-command.html

  2. Amit agree it is a paradox, which is what makes it so interesting! The governance is not there to help the networks to grow it is more to ensure that while they are growing issues do not appear that stops their growth.

    I disagree about a chief blogging officer as the concept is a bit limited. Enterprise 2.0 is talking about a wholesale modification of how business operates. It cuts across HR, IT, PR, Marketing, Sales etc. Having said that I am not sure I fully understand where such a person would sit in the organisation or if a single person is the right answer. Definitely food for thought over the next few days.

  3. Michael, I whole heartedly agree that Enterprise 2.0 is going to cut across and would call for change of business models. At the same time, just like CIO became an important job, Blogging officer would become an important job in 2.0 era. Moreover it would be a job which would sit somewhere in Corporate Strategy / HR and would require multiple skills. Not just that, I believe CHRO of tomorrow would also need a completely different skill set, I intend to blog on that soon
    Stay tuned !!

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