Social networking and reputational risk in the workplace

Over 6 months ago Deloitte released their 2009 report on ethics and the workplace this time focusing on impact social computing is having on reputation risk for organisations. The results are very interesting, and given the recent background checking and social media discussions, they also impact individuals and their online reputation.

reputation

Let’s review the result:

  • 74% of employees said it’s easy to damage a company’s reputation on social media
  • 58% of executives agree that reputational risk & social networking should be a board room issue, but only 15% say it actually is
  • 53% of employees think employers should stay out of their social networking pages
  • 40% of executives disagree with employees and 30% informally monitor sites
  • 61% of employees said even if employers did monitor they would not change their online behavior, because they know it’s not private, and have already made significant adjustments to their online profiles
  • Almost 50% of employees said they would not change their online behavior if their company had a policy
  • 27% of employees do not consider the ethical consequences

These figures worry me because to quote James Lovell; “Houston, we have a problem”. (Yes I know he did not actually say that but the real quote won’t work.)

74% of employees agree it’s easy to damage a company’s reputation on social media but only 27% actually think about it.

So let’s break this down

For me this calls for more education of people about their activities online so let’s re-look at The Mother Test:

  1. Make sure you have a consistent profile you are willing to show your mother. It is very hard if not impossible to remain completely anonymous online, even if you never use your real name. For example I know of several bloggers who blog under anonymous names, but I also know who they really are.
  2. Make sure you don’t do/say anything you would not be proud to show your mother. You might not want your mother to see what you have done, but if you had to show her and example yourself would you be proud of what you had done?
  3. Make sure you don’t post pictures/videos you would not be willing to show your mother. Like doing or saying things online, if you had to explain yourself could you and would you be proud of what you have done?
  4. Is your reputation online one your mother would be proud of? You might not specifically say or post anything that is suspect but we all have a reputation, even on sites that are password protected.
  5. Would your activities online make your mother trust you? Trust is the ultimate test of what you are doing and defines your integrity, ability, or character.

(Image: Flickr)

Social Recruiting and Social Media ROI

It is said in business you measure what matters.

The same can be said for the implementation of social recruiting/social media. Basically its use is designed to positively impact your business. The only way to ensure that this is in fact the case is through clear and focused measurement.  Measurement also allows you to adjust your approach along the way. Spending too much time in one area without a positive return? Then measurement will help you understand how to make changes. Finally measurement is part of reputation management, as the only way to understand your online reputation is to measure what is being said, it’s also the only way to really manage your corporate brand online.

The measurement process does not need to be complex. However it does need to allow you to understand the impact on your business.

I also believe there is no right way of measuring the return on investment for use of social media in business. Why? Because the objectives for using social media are different. 

Lets look at Quantitative Measurement.

Quantitative measurement is required when you are looking to measure hard numbers such as increases in candidates or sales, site traffic, speed to hire, reduction in calls to your customer service staff. To measure the results you will require tools and services that provide you information on your program success.

As part of regular business operations you should have tools to measure your sales, time to hire etc but what about measuring your activities online and your reputation?

Here are a eleven free tools to get you started:

  1. Post Rank
  2. Post Rank is a free service that measures social engagement on online content produced in RSS feeds such as blog posts or news stories. This is done by measuring the type and frequency of your audience’s interaction with the content, for example bookmarking, commenting, blogging about the post.

  3. FeedBurner
  4. FeedBurner is an essential free RSS distribution service that provides detailed blog readership measurement and engagement metrics. Using FeedBurner you can measure the number of subscribers to your feed, gain an understanding as to which blog posts are popular and also measure users who have taken action based on your content.

  5. Google Analytics
  6. Google Analytics is another essential tool for any web site. Google Analytics provides sites traffic trends, search keywords, conversion measurements, time spent on your site and the number of pages viewed. Google Analytics provides a professional level of information for free in an easy to use and understand layout.

  7. Xinu
  8. Xinu measures the status of your site in several search engines and social media sites. It also provides some simple diagnostic tools to allow you to improve your site.

  9. WordPress Popularity Contest plugin
  10. If you are using WordPress as your blogging tool of choice installing the Popularity Contest plugin by Alex King is highly recommended. This plugin measures views, comment etc are tracked and provided point values to determine popularity.

  11. Google Alerts
  12. Are email and RSS updates of the latest Google results based on your specific watch list words or topics. You can subscribe to each alert through email and RSS. The alerts track blog posts, news articles, videos and even groups. Set a “comprehensive alert,” which will notify you of stories, as they happen, for your name, your topic, and even your company.

  13. Technorati
  14. A free blog search engine that amongst other things allows users to create custom watch lists of words of topics. When one of your terms appears Technorati will add it to your customer RSS feed for that watch list.

  15. Yahoo Pipes
  16. A free service from Yahoo that allows users to build very complex aggregation tools, called Pipes. The Pipes can be either kept private or shared publically. Yahoo Pipes is a very comprehensive tool, however I would not recommend it for someone without significant technical skills.

  17. TweetBeep
  18. A tool that reviews the content of public Twitter updates, Tweets, and based on your key words will send you an email either hourly or daily as people discuss your keyword. If your business is locally focused the alerts can also be restricted to specific locations so you do not get overloaded with irrelevant information.

  19. Social Mention
  20. A free search engine that aggregates information across many different user generated contact sites such as blogs, comments, photos, voting, tagging and micro-blogging. Users can subscribe to the watch lists by either RSS or email.

  21. BackType
  22. Most of the above tools do not allow you to see the comments left on sites that might mention your terms. This is where BackType can help. BackType allows you to receive updates whenever your terms are mentioned in a comment, once again subscribe via email or RSS. 

Another tip, all of these tools can be used to source candidates, plug in a keyword and “automagically” you get feeds of potential candidates. More on how to manage that information flow later.

Inspired in part by Jim Durbin’s post yesterday on Sodexo’s activities.

Update: Here are 3 more tools Radian6Techrigy, or Spiral 16