Companies, Employees, and Social Media requires Trust

I’ve worked for a few companies now in my career, and each culture exemplifies it’s trust for it’s employees in different ways. For many companies, there’s a long list of do’s and don’t that are issued to them while they’re being hired. The more “donts” the less trust the company and employee may have.

In this new world, where Social Media is going to be part of many of our communication fabrics, we need to establish trust, as the lines are never going to be fully black and white. Those who embrace these tools will often be ‘pushing the membrane’ of the corporate culture and as a result, be in the gray zone. Keep in mind, those who push are often wanting to help customers, or move the company in the right direction.

As a result, trust has become more and more important, and we need to consider the following (as it’s not going away)

1) Companies: Hire the right employees that have integrity, sound business judgment, and know how to communicate both internaly and externally
2) Companies: Trust in these employees to be your ambassadors to the world, give them the benefit of the doubt, and let them self-correct amongst themselves. I also advise instituting internal communication tools to help them, and setting down basic guidelines…often created BY the employees.
3) Employees: Those out in the social sphere should act their best, demonstrate your ability, and try not to embarrass the company. If you do make a mistake, quickly apologize, correct the mistake. Always act in an ethical manner.
4) Social Sphere: That’s everyone else in the world, is to simply recognize the challenges as companies move forward in this new world.

I’m sure there’s an argument suggesting that the mail clerk shouldn’t blog about the company’s product set, which is likely appropriate, but keep in mind, he’s connected to his network on MySpace or Facebook, and represents the company in a different way –even if he attempts to separate himself from the company.

What prompted this post? yesterday, the message I heard from my new employer at orientation was “We trust you, as we hire good people”. Message heard loud and clear.