Seriously, how dumb are your employees?
I mean, God forbid you open up their ability and time to converse on social media networks with actual customers! What good could come from that?
One of the resistance maneuvers I hear all the time when talking with businesses regarding the internal shifts necessary when implementing a social business structure and Social CRM system, is that they’re not sure how much trust they have in their employees interacting online freely, and that it would be too difficult to train everyone.
“But what about what happened to GM?”
“But what about the Kenneth Cole thing?”
Aside from the fact that this same argument was used with the implementation of the phone, computer, fax machine, email and Internet and all those turned out to be not only helpful, but necessary for business, the real problem here is simple and I tell it to every company I’ve ever worked with that had these fears:
You don’t have a social media problem, you have a hiring problem.
There are truths regarding people and one of those is that people don’t purposefully sabotage groups and organizations they enjoy and respect.
Another truth is that when given clear and understandable guidelines within a system they respect, those guidelines will be followed.
Within those two statements there are 3 important terms to note for your company:
So, if it’s true that people aren’t going to ruin something they respect, it becomes your job as an executive team to foster an atmosphere of mutual respect between employee and C-Suite. While this shouldn’t come as some giant shocker to anyone whose been in business for more than, let’s say, 5 minutes, it doesn’t appear to be common practice in the business world. According to the American Psychological Association, half of all employees who said they feel like they’re not respected at work said they intend to look for a new job in the next year. The same study went on to show though that 90% of workers who reported feeling respected said they are motivated to do their best work and comply with company policies and regulations. So, when you openly show employees they are respected by the company, they respect you back and are motivated to comply with your policies and guidelines (keep reading). That’s step one.
While you shouldn’t be afraid of social media, opening the social communications floodgates and leaving your employees alone to navigate the waters is also asking for trouble. As discussed before, one of the first things you need to fully realize is that a mapped out social communications guidelines document will outline all policies and procedures surrounding employee actions in social media. This document should also go so far as to document which systems will be used for what and under what circumstances (i.e. in my last agency I implemented a system for desktops and phones where all client Twitter communications took place through Hootsuite and all personal Tweeting was done through the regular Twitter app, basically eliminating all possibility of a GM-like episode). Make sure these guidelines are in-hand with all employees and that they understand them during the training process.
Finally, we’re getting to the systems side of things. I’m not going to go into detail here because we’ve talked about systems and strategies before, but after you’ve created a culture of respect and produced guidelines that your employees can follow, begin implementing your systems and then rest assured that you can trust the people you’ve empowered and educated in those systems.
If you get through all the steps and STILL can’t trust your employees, no amount of consultation is going to help because you are hiring people that you ultimately do not trust. Build teams around responsibilities AND personalities, because you need to be able to trust your workforce.
But in the end, I can’t help you with that issue. That’s a hiring problem, not a social business problem.
Reprinted by permission.