The New Transparency

What does having an open social media policy say about a company?

For me , it says nothing about social media and everything about trust.

Trust in your people – you believe that they come to work to do good things , not wreck your reputation.

Trust in yourself – you are an open business and don’t have things to hide. You are ethical and you do good things.

I’ve been involved in a couple of discussions recently about the value of employer presence on social media. It emerged as number of businesses are considering scaling down their social media presence amid fears of risk and bad PR.

In those conversations we talked about a “new transparency” – something far more meaningful than whether you publish every item of expenditure over £500.

A transparency that says we are confident , even when facing criticism, in our people and our culture. We encourage each other to post and blog and talk about the work we are doing.

It’s a transparency that says , if you believe in our values then why not be our next customer or next recruitment?

More and more people are making career choices based upon the social credentials of an organisation. And more and more are seeing access to social media as a right not a benefit.

Far from being just another fad, your social media policy and the way you use it might well be your most valuable USP.


7 thoughts on “The New Transparency

  1. I totally agree. There have been a lot of these conversations about social media policy in police and probation services. I agree with police chiefs who say: “If I can trust my staff with tasers & truncheons, I can trust them with Twitter”

  2. I couldnt agree more Paul .. … and Russell …… Along with the trust, developing leaders to handle this new form of comms is essential maximise the benefits – The lines between internal and external comms are now blurred which is great for transparency and opens up new and rich conversations. Handled well socmed can add so much to your brand. I work with 1200 colleagues, we can, if we choose have a genuine honest and authentic voice about what we do and how we do it wth no glossy veneer…

  3. Love the comments from Mr. Webster , says it all, doesn’t it !
    My own comment –
    1) If you dont trust your People, what are they doing working for you
    2) If they know that you don’t trust them, what makes you think they are going to trust you?

  4. Thanks for the comments guys – I appreciate all of them. Unfortunately though this lack of trust isn’t going away anytime soon across the public sector. I’ve spoken to some incredibly enthusiastic people today who want to get on and experiment with new ways of communication but seem to be hitting barriers. Danger is – they leave and move to employers willing to give them a chance.

  5. Hi Paul, I absolutely agree. I know you’ve already made this point, but I think it’s worth reiterating that this culture shift isn’t going to happen overnight. It’s not helped by the high profile cases where employees have been sacked for saying something they shouldn’t. I think what’s important in selling this shift is common sense – don’t say something you wouldn’t feel comfortable putting in a letter or an email. Unfortunately, I think people are too cautious and instead say: “I’ll stay out of trouble by keeping my mouth shut.” So it’s going to be hard to change that way of thinking.

    1. Thanks Pamela – I think you are right – this is a long term change of culture. The worrying thing is most of the decision makers or blockers don’t seem to understand the medium they are trying to block. Interesting conversations yesterday with people who had posted humourous or light hearted posts ( to engage with people ) and have been told off for doing it as it “wasn’t corporate enough”. The end result of that is , as you say , they keep their mouth shut in future.

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