This morning a friend of mine forwarded me an email from one of the many companies which are encouraging their customers and prospects to start monitoring their employee’s web usage.
That drove me to do a little research on how many companies are already monitoring their employees’ email and web usage. Depending on which survey you look at, it looks like between 60% and 75%+ of companies are actually tracking employees’ web usage (some are capturing every single keystroke) – with about 50% of companies firing employees for email and ‘net abuse.
That means that at least 60% of companies are not ready to have their employees engage in social media. If you cannot trust your employees to do the right surfing, then how can you trust them to engage in social media on your behalf?
I understand that there are inherent legal issues related to employees visiting inappropriate sites. What I don’t understand is how this is somehow different from an employee bringing in, and leaving on his desk, an inappropriate magazine. Now companies didn’t develop policies to search people’s bags upon entering the company in the morning. So why do they think that they should monitor people’s keystrokes? How is this somehow different?
If you “spy” on your employees, even if you are transparent about it, you will create a culture of distrust and anti-loyalty – not to mention all the other bad behaviors that come with big brother spying. The difference between a company spying on its employees and a country spying on its citizen are not all the different – and there are some gruesome lessons to be learned from the latter.
So again – if you have a “spying” culture you distrust your employees’ reading habits and how they spend their time. You will therefore distrust their ability to engage with customers on your behalf or you will put so many controls over it that it will sound 100% inauthentic. Think of people willing to speak in public in dicta rial countries – they have zero credibility, as most people assume that they are shills for the regime.
If this is your company culture, you risk to forever miss the boat when one of your competitors which trusts their employees to do the right things and not be stupid will find a way to humanize their company by having their employees engage in conversations with their customers and prospects.