Why keeping guidelines and policies for social media only ?

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There’s no collaborative or social solution implementation that comes without guidelines or policies. That’s a legitimate concern given the large range of freedom given to employees in fields that used to be highly managed and top down that hurts long established cultures. The fact the risks are often overrated does not mean that nothing should be done, both to make the organization more mature and employees more accountable.

Social Media in the workplace : a risk no one can ignore

As a matter of fact there are risks that come with social tools :

• Sensitive information being shared beyond the authorized scope (I mean really sensitive information, not information being hoarded to show one’s power”.

• Misbehaviors (don’t worry : email and word to mouth are the best tools for that)

• Encroachment into people’s private mal. The use of such ubiquitous and pervasive tools, their social nature and the fact they excel at mobile use raise the question of their use outside of “official” work hours. This may look trivial at first sight but it appears being a growing concern for businesses caring about well being at work and work/life balance.

• Productivity and performance. A tool is nothing more than a tool. Well used it makes eveyone save time, badly used it becomes a collective unproductivity tool. So it’s important to teach people why and how a given tool should be used, in which scope, and how / for what purposes it should not be used.

While social networks are restricted, meetings and emails still produce their harmful effects

But as we’re focusing on the governance of what’s nothing more than a collaboration / communication / work tool, wouldn’t it be high time to think about the others tools being used for the same purpose and wonder how to articulate them instead of using in silos. As a matter of fact if preventing from the downsides of social collaboration tools, doing so makes little sense if massive destruction weapons like meetings and email are left unmanaged.

If we were as cautious with email than with social collaboration solutions, we would stop sending attached documents to 20 people at the same time and use “reply all” to answer the message. We would stop sending emails a 7.00 pm with a ‘I don’t expect you to handle this message tonigh….but if you think you have to …”. We would also care about the way we write to others (of course, no one received at least once a short one line message in capitals, saying neither hi nor thank you and stating : “PLEASE DO THIS ASAP”). We would stop using the forward button to pass the monkey and do implicit task delegation.

Same for meetings. How many meetings happen with too many thinks to deal, poorly defined goals, poorly framed agendas, too many attendees who have nothing to do there, stating late or a unproductive hours with all the impact we can imagine on people’s life ?).

The governance of collaboration means should be thought globally

Restricting the use of a tool (emails and meetings are tools) is useless if no alternative is offered and if it’s still possible to do worse with other tools. A well organized meeting is sometimes better than endless online discussions that ends with no decision making, the social network is better than email for “reply all” conversations around heavy documents and dealing with the intrusive nature of email is pointless if meetings starts at 6.00 pm.

Either from a productive, HR or privacy standpoint, the governance of collaborative tools must be global.