Blogging has always been a platform to discuss ideas and spark conversation about topics. These reasons are what makes blogging great, to begin with. The same thing can be said with most tools available at your disposal for your business nowadays. From learning management systems to gamification platforms, these tools help motivate employees and encourage high levels of performance over a sustained period.
However, there are cases when technology can be harmful to your brand, even if indirectly.
For employers who merely want to vent out their frustration about a particular topic, blogging can be a channel they can tap into. Some people need to release and get rid of the stress they’ve been keeping for so long. While this healing process may be healthy for their well-being, the same cannot be said about the employer.
If you happen to be at the wrong end of the stick in this situation, then you’re probably suffering the aftermath of whatever they wrote on their blog.
To be fair, employees are people too. They have the right to express their opinions to whoever is interested to know. However, there are set of beliefs that don’t necessarily coincide with your company’s. At worst, their opinions would reflect badly on your company, which could have a profound effect on your sales and business relations.
As an employer, you need to avoid any instance that your employees are expressing their resentment to their jobs using this medium.
Therefore, you must set up a blogging policy to guide employees on how to conduct themselves online and outside of work.
Why do you need a blogging policy?
For business owners, a blogging policy is your safety net. You can’t control what people say or do outside of their work hours. However, what you can control is how their words and action affect your business.
A blogging policy in place will protect your business from anything defamatory your employee might say or do. Just as much as you value the work your employees do, you also need to protect the interests and image of your company.
A blogging policy doesn’t necessarily expose your employees to legal action. What the policy needs to remind your employees is accountability. What you want are not only hard-working employees but also responsible ones. You want to be working with people who respect what your company represents. If they can’t observe your blogging policy, then they might not be the people whom you want as your employees moving forwards.
Your blogging policy also applies to social media. People use social media more often than a blog as a platform to express their opinions. You can use the policy to cover the blogging and social media activities of your employees to exempt your company from their online activities.
What to include in your blogging policy
When drafting your blogging policy, you need to cover as much ground as possible. You don’t want to leave stones unturned for whatever reason. By being exhaustive in your policy, you exclude your company that you’ve worked so hard to build from sharing their opinions.
Below are the basic ones that you should cover in your policy:
If your employee features your company on a blog post or a social media update, then you must require them to mention that their views were written and expressed in the content do not represent the views of the company. This rule also applies to your competitors that employees will mention on posts or updates.
At the same time, you need to request them to mention to you or the assigned managers about the post they’re writing that mentions your company. This courtesy preempts you and the higher-ups to anticipate the content and gives you a chance to visit the post at your will.
As long as the employees observe the conditions in your policy on their posts, then they should be in the clear. If they act on behalf of the company, then they cross your blogging policy, and you have grounds to take action against them. You can forbid them from using your logo without your permission to avoid the possibility that readers think that the employees represent your company on their blogs.
The confidentiality clause is usually included in the contract they sign before stepping foot in your office. However, there’s no harm in reiterating the fact that they are forbidden to share sensitive information about your company to the public. Subjects that are not allowed include but are not limited to:
- upcoming product releases
- sales figures
- number of products sold
- private information or those that have not been released by the company to the public
You need to be clear about the topics that employees should not discuss on a public platform to prevent them from divulging sensitive information. Encourage them to ask your PR Officer about topics that they can mention so they can avoid legal trouble.
Respect and privacy rights
If your employees paint your company in a negative light, then you have grounds for legal action against them. The last thing you want from them is a negative perception from the public, which could affect your sales performance if things escalate.
You also need to inform employees that any derogatory statements made about your company in their posts affect not only your business but also the other employees that have nothing to do with the post in the first place. Not to mention, you can terminate your contract with these employees, if push comes to shove. Surely, nobody would want that mess in their hands.
Wrapping it up
The blogging policy provisions above simply suggestions on how you approach this issues to your employees. I don’t claim to be an expert on these things. However, it doesn’t make me wrong either. The entire point of this post encourages you to cover all the bases of your business and protect it from any potential harm that your employees may commit against you. Therefore, you need to consult a professional to help you draft your policy and make it iron-clad and airtight as possible.
Also, it’s also best to mobilize employees to share content from within your company through employee advocacy. Instead of employees posting stuff on social media beyond your control, you can incentivize their social media and blogging activities to the benefit of your company.