The Necessity for a Code of Conduct 2.0


25 May 2015

The story goes a little like this…Girl meets Boy. Girl likes Boy. Girl friends Boy on Facebook. Girl sees the profile was created in May 2014. Weird. Obviously Girl does a Google search and finds no social profile newer than May 2014. But wait, he’s a 20-something year old guy who can’t have been living under a rock for the last 10 years…So what happened with Boy in May 2014 to make him magically appear (or maybe it’s disappear) online? The answer, he signed a new employment contract.

In one of my earlier posts, we explored the Power of the Employee Online. It focused on the how actions offline could go viral online and affect a brand’s reputation. Here we’ll dive into the positive power of employee engagement and how your company can harness it as a branding tool.

As explained in the Digital Transformation White Paper, in today’s digitalized world people come first. They are backbone of any company or organization and can be the biggest asset (or threat) a company has. Codes of Conduct are normal practice by companies offline, but it has not quite become a norm to have a Digital Code of Conduct for their employees. It’s something that is necessary and has boundless potential for company visibility, reputation and engagement.

Here’s what a Code of Conduct 2.0 should include:

  • Be Encouraging. Encourage the sharing of content, experiences and connections they have with the company or the industry the company is in. This shows employee engagement, knowledge and interest beyond just their position within the company.

  • Be Humble. Give thanks for the praises and compliments and understand the complaints. From the perspectives of users, companies and employees it’s necessary to go behind the brand/company and see that it is made up of real people just like them.

  • Top Secret! Make it known what is OK and not OK to share. Obviously there are certain situations when content and actions should not be shared.

  • The Consequences. There are limits to any relationship and those limitations must be established and recognized. If someone crosses said line, it will be considered unacceptable and proper actions will be taken.

  • Make it public. Post! Post! Post! Post updates, post photos and most of all, post your policies. Let the ‘Internet’ known that you value your employees and you want them to share their opinions, experiences and who they are.

Last but not least (as seen on many of the good examples) Use Common Sense. This point is debatable. It is fundamental, but let’s be honest, not everybody has matured past finding that perfect selfie profile picture. As a recommendation, encourage common sense, don’t forget to teach it! Take the time to share and discuss the guidelines with your employees as you would any other training module.

In the world of web 2.0 it means it’s a two-way street and no longer just companies controlling what they want seen or said. These guidelines should be followed and respected by both the employee and the employer.

Some great examples of existing Social Media Policies include Intel, Ford, Reuters and P&G.

So what does this have to do with Girl and Boy? As mentioned, Boy signed a new contract with a very strict Social Media Policy, he had to erase any existing accounts and begin new profiles that were associated with his new corporate identity. This is an extreme case, but is a real example and shows that employees are willing to truly live, breath and share the essence of the company down to their last tweet.

The question is, do you or will you be implementing a Code of Conduct 2.0 anytime soon?