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Social Media Policies and More: Checklist Guidance for Managing Digital Era Risks


Posted by Hunt, PhD, Courtney at Tuesday, 04/24/2012 1:21 pm
 
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Most organizations – even those that are highly engaged with social media and other digital technologies – are not addressing Digital Era risks as comprehensively or deeply as they could or should. My latest blog post helps organizational leaders close gaps in their risk management strategies by offering checklist guidance focused on both outcomes and processes. Additional recommendations are welcome.

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Last week I participated in The Conference Board’s Social Media Strategies for HR (SM4HR) Seminars, and one of my roles was to facilitate a working group session entitled “Social Media Policy and Beyond.” During the small group discussions and large-group report outs, I was pleased to hear how many organizations are engaging in best practices such as:

- Recognizing that policies and guidelines have to be customized to match the culture and operating characteristics of the organization
- Involving representatives from multiple functional areas to develop those policies and guidelines
- Providing interactive training for employees to ensure they understand their rights and responsibilities
- Reviewing policies and guidelines at least annually to ensure they’re current

At the same time, however, it was also evident that most of the organizations were not addressing Digital Era risks as comprehensively or deeply as they could or should. To help others avoid or close similar lapses and gaps, I thought it would be worthwhile to update and reshare the checklist guidance I included in Social Media Polices: Necessary but not Sufficient.

Click here to access the post. What else would you add to the list? As always I welcome your comments and questions.

- Courtney Shelton Hunt

PS - Please refer back to the longer post for more comprehensive and in-depth treatment of the topic. Although some of the content in that post is now dated, the core principles and recommendations are still very relevant.

INTRODUCTION

Every organization needs to think about and be prepared to manage the risks associated with operating in the Digital Era. It doesn’t matter whether social media is part of the organization’s strategic agenda, or if the organization itself has any deliberate digital presence. It also doesn’t matter how large the organization is, whether it’s for-profit, BtoB or BtoC, or which industry or sector it operates in. To put it simply:

If you employ people, you should have a social media policy.

Digital Era risks exist regardless of an organization’s focus on technology, and/or the personal feelings of that organization’s leaders about social media and other 2.0 tools. Managing those risks is part of the cost of doing business, and managing them well can be a competitive differentiator, in both the economic marketplace and the war for talent. Generally speaking, however, there is no simple solution or “one size fits all” approach, and a “fix-it-and-forget-it” strategy is one few organizations can afford.

Creating a social media policy of some sort is necessary for all organizations, but it's hardly sufficient to manage all the Digital Era risks organizations face. Drafting and implementing a social media policy should be considered part of a larger effort to ensure that an organization’s employment policies reflect Digital Era realities, and that both employees and managers understand not just the “new” rules, but also how “old” rules apply in the new era (see Social Media: From Novelty to Utility for best practice guidance for managing social media). Organizations must also reexamine and update their operational policies, as well as their legal agreements and contracts. And if they have active digital communities, both externally and internally, they need to have proper engagement guidelines in place, as well as updated crisis management plans.
Enhancing an organization’s ability to manage Digital Era risks requires leaders to think about both outcomes (the “what”) and processes (the “how”).

Click here to access the complete post and review the checklists.


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