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When IT & HR Collide: Monitoring Social Media Usage

You click on your e-mail and the first thing that pops up is a picture of a new hire, drunk in Cancun, Mexico, scantily clad. You say under your breath, "Drat! Now what? DRAT, DRAT, DRAT!" Trying to understand who has viewed the picture, your blood boils as you visit the employee's Facebook page and notice he or she has more than 600 friends. With 48 comments on the wild trip to Cancun, the page is riddled with additional pictures-worse than the one sent to you-from the trip. In a viral whirlwind, the pictures have been spread to half the company's Facebook pages. Now what?

Do you fire them? Discipline? Can you even do that? If you don't have a policy, do you have a case? If you haven't done training, do you have a clue? Is there a model to follow?

This scenario calls for more than a simple policy. It calls for a solution. You want to prevent this. Make sure that all of your employees are not just in the same hymnal but on the same page as you move forward into a rapidly expanding, social media-dominated world.

With the explosion of words such as, "Blogging, Tweeting, Facebooking, and Googling," there has been an implosion of concerns for credit unions. How do you protect your reputation? Can you maintain member privacy? Where can you turn to ensure employees understand appropriate behavior? Words that didn't exist a decade ago are the foundation of our everyday conversations. With this increase in communication and connection, we need to ensure credit unions are protected. This brings up social media safety and security.

CUs are desperately looking for a social media policy that can be presented to the board, slapped in the policy manual, and marked off the to-do list. Stop! Not so fast! Unfortunately, a policy is just the first step, not all the important steps.

More than a social media policy, you need a social media solution. If you have social media policy you are in the minority. The website www.evalsRus.com completed a survey of credit unions and found that only 20% had a social media policy, although 20% also had a Facebook page.

Getting started in the social media arena is relatively easy, but the steps that need to be taken to protect your reputation, your members and your employees — and the reputation of new hires — is not.

If you only have a policy, you need to consider what Coca Cola did to address their social media concerns. Coca Cola in my opinion has set the standard of social media protection for management, consumers and employees. They don't have a social media policy but rather social media principles. (Do a simple Google search to find their social media principles; you will be impressed) They focus on the power of trust, but they also verify. Coca Cola has installed a social media solution. They have outlined who can "officially" represent Coca Cola on social media sites, they have trained employees, managers, and even have employees sign a "social media agreement."

That goes beyond just a policy. If you only have a policy, you may satisfy the regulators, but will you satisfy your desire for a restful night's sleep? Here are the steps to take to protect your credit union:

• Create a social media policy. (Ensure it reflects the culture at your credit union.)

• Clearly outline who can "officially" represent the credit union in the social media world. Period. (You don't want any surprises here.)

• Train your managers to help protect the credit union's reputation on social media sites.

• Connect to RSS feeds or Google alerts to notify you of any reputation risk to your CU.

• Train employees on the "Shall and shall not's" of social media.

• Create an employee agreement that is signed by employees.

• Test their competency on what can and cannot be done on social media.

Coca Cola has gone beyond a simple social media policy. Credit unions should consider the same solution. If you would like a free whitepaper entitled, "How to Protect Your Credit Union with Social Media," please send me an email at SocialMediaCU@ATT.net, and I will be happy to send you the information for implementing the five steps for credit unions. This will help you protect your reputation, the credit union's reputation, and satisfy your desire for a good night's sleep.

Rory Rowland is a consultant and speaker based in Independence, Mo.

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