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Social media: what are your employees exposing?

For the last few years it has been commonplace for organisations to monitor the activities of existing employees and investigate the backgrounds of potential employees through social networking sites. Until recently, current and prospective employees have not had the same opportunity to learn the warts-and-all truth about organisations.

Prospective employees can read press articles, ask current employees and look at company websites but you’re usually met with a brick wall of corporate PR presenting a slick and carefully controlled image.

Social media is knocking down that brick wall. The immediate and public nature of sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook pose a genuine risk to organisations that aren’t serious about managing the impact of social media on their employer branding. There are now websites such as Glass Door, which provides salary information and ratings of organisations. Naked Office gives employees the opportunity to speak candidly and anonymously about their employer. This is fine in theory but for organisations, it throws up many questions and risks. Organisations must be vigilant in monitoring and managing social media to protect their brand.

Social media is a complex issue for organisations that may have wide-ranging consequences. Some consequences can be positive such as customer intimacy and free publicity; others can cause severe damage to brand reputation and share prices. Organisations, especially boards and senior management, must monitor social media channels in order to respond swiftly and appropriately.

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