Mushroom growth of social networking platforms is making it easier for employees to interact with each other and customers. Social networks other than acting as venues of interaction also act as centers of learning, as during the course of interaction employees share problems in order to learn solutions from their peers. Furthermore, with the help of social platforms companies disseminate information and policies from a centralized hub and it becomes easier for them to educate their employees. Exclusive social platforms of companies and other commercial social platforms are causing benefits to companies in number of ways: sourcing and talent hunting, knowledge sharing, continuous education and training of employees, sharing of best practices, marketing, news network etc. But at the same time increasing employees’ interaction over social platforms is raising concerns for organizations. It increases chances of going confidential organizational data public. Any incident of mistreatment of workers, failure in fulfilling commitment with employees and misconduct of management can go viral and cause harm to organization’s image. Inappropriate use of social media at the end of employees can also bring shame to an organization.
In such a situation letting employees use social networks without any surveillance, prior guidelines, and training can be disastrous, there are many incidents in this regard that have surfaced during last years. But some scholars and practitioners are of the view that neither employees should not be stopped from using social platforms nor they be checked during the course of using, as it can be negative in respect of employees’ growth and engagement and customer engagement. I am also of the view that employees should be encouraged to use social media. Organizational policies should be of such natures that allow employees to use social networks. These networks can be exclusively of an organization or other commercial networks. But at the same time I think that employees must be given training for using such platforms in a responsible manner. Training may include: uses of social networking, sourcing, marketing over such platforms, creating customer awareness, increasing customer base, representing your employer, problem solving, learning from others, how using social networks in irresponsible manner can cause harm to carriers etc. New joiners must be given training at the time of orientation. An important thing to remember is that trends and technology relating to social media keep on changing, thus training programs must also be ongoing. In my view most important thing in this regard is to have a ‘social policy’. It is a policy that defines a companies’ vision about social media. It encourages employees to use social networks. It describes how an organization is going to get benefit out of social platforms. It guides employees about using social networks in a professional and responsible manner by setting guidelines for them. It covers legal matters in this respect. It also covers matters of confidentiality. Those organizations which are reliant heavily upon social networks have a social taskforces or social media teams that are led by visionary leaders. Responsibilities of such teams include: conducting needs analysis of departments within organizations in regard of use of social media, introducing social media initiatives, oversee communication that is taking place on social platforms, brand management, setting outlines for interacting with customers on social networks.
It is not wise to stop your employees from using social networks. Thus, they must be encouraged to use it. In order to avoid social crisis companies must have policies and teams that define rules of using social media. If companies have such measures at place chances of occurrence of social crisis decrease, in case of happening of crisis such measures safeguard organizations and their employees.