It seems to me that businesses have lost a bit of that discerning nature that makes them the long term successes they want to be.
Every decision should be made for the good of the company. This is a fact of business and often the key factor that can make the difference between a mediocre leader and a great one. Where the difficulty lies is that a lot of people only think of the good of the company as ensuring that their monthly/quarterly/yearly profits are as high as possible and that in the public eye there are sweeping positive reviews, but there is so much more to it than that. It is inevitable that there will be some level of negative sentiment about a business, be it from past employees, a negative event that occurred or a current employee that has had a bad day and is having a vent. The issue is with seeing all of this as a completely negative thing that is to be controlled. People expect employees to have bad days, nobody is happy all the time, work is stressful and at times depressing. This is the way things are in even the best of companies.
What we are seeing at the moment is companies rushing to control this output through monitoring of employees online activity and then taking action off the back of it the problem with this is that it is in no way a cost efficient use of anybodies time. If employees are complaining en-mass a standard level of brand monitoring throughout social channels should pick this up, there is no need to monitor employees specifically. Furthermore the way in which businesses are treating employees that do complain is counter-productive, in fact if an employee that is typically happy complains online they are just as likely to promote the business through the same channel when they have a good day. If there are high levels of complaints occurring from employees throughout the business, or even from within particular business teams the issue is not that people are complaining, it is that they are unhappy at work. This, whether businesses like it or not is a management/leadership issue.
If businesses put the same amount of time, effort and money into leadership training, employee reward and recognition programs and talent development that they put into attempting to control their employees online behaviour they would not only see the amount of negative sentiment from employees fade, they would additionally be left with a more engaged and productive workforce. This is the largest issue with businesses rushing to get on board the latest trend, they are not thinking about the long term cost associated with this behaviour. When you lose an employee t it costs the business on average a minimum of 2x their salary to recruit, train and replace the employee. Add to this the damage and cost of having dis-engaged employees to begin with and what you are left with is an extremely detrimental cost to the business, so instead of punishing and restricting the expression of employees who will only feel further unhappy about their situation knowing that work is now encroaching on their personal space, businesses should look internally at employee engagement (there are a multitude of providers who run assessments around this) and figuring out how they can improve the workplace for everyone. Hypothetically speaking you could be looking at hundreds of thousands of dollars saved annually in turnover and productivity.
It’s just smart business.
For more information about the benefits of investing in employees you can look at my lovely partner Jessica’s site: HR Club Sydney