NAVEX Global and PwC recently sponsored a groundbreaking study from the Ethics Resource Center around Social Networking in the workplace. There was a lot covered in the study, so we’ve put the results in context for ethics and compliance officers. How can you act on the report findings – and utilize social media – to advance organizational goals?
The study gives employers some clear guidance on what works. One of the best conclusions from this report, in my mind, is that employers have some concrete numbers to back up the value of some common and practical compliance steps. Both having a policy and conducting training on social media change employee behaviors. These efforts improve compliance and reduce risk. It's not often that the compliance community gets data like this that can provide ROI and justify the investments they are making.
Yet, employers are not taking advantage of these simple tools. The actual percentage of employers with a policy or who conduct social media training is quite low. My advice? Organizations need to focus on social media policies and training in the coming year.
I was very surprised to see the retaliation number as high as it was for active social networkers (ASNs), or those who spend 30 percent or more of their day online. (Yes, 30 percent.) ASNs are more likely to see and to report misconduct (77 percent) than other U.S. workers (66 percent).
Unfortunately, they report being subjected to retaliation at a staggering rate as well. Fifty-six percent of ASNs who reported misconduct said they experienced retaliation – compared to only 18 percent of U.S. workers. Retaliation is a very significant legal risk area for employers of all sizes, meaning employers must be training employees and managers about this risk. The difference in those retaliation figures is so vast that it begs for additional research.
I also found it startling that ASNs were so willing to engage in behaviors that are clearly risk-creating for an organization. Fifty percent of ASNs would keep copies of confidential work documents for possible use in a next job, for example. And this group is also the most likely to change job within five years (72 percent of them). We know – from the report – that a large percentage of the ASNs are managers and senior managers, so they have access to a lot of confidential business information.
Despite some of those findings – or perhaps, because of them – when looking at your own social media efforts, there are areas where organizations can harness the power of social media to advance organizational culture. Consider some of these different engagement methods to utilize with your stakeholders:
And, as we’ve discussed, social media outreach also comes with considerations for organizations to make before embarking. Some key factors to contemplate: