>”Freedom of speech” is our birth right. Everybody has a right to express his or her opinion and views. And today, blogging has taken this “freedom of speech” to a new level altogether.
But this has raised alarms in the corporate world. It has reached a point where companies are afraid that confidential information might leak out of the company walls. Employees often express their opinions ANONYMOUSLY in open forums and blogs on the web. Companies have no way of tracking this. Indeed, this is a real threat and no one can stop anyone from expressing oneself on the web.
However, it is also a boon if you train the employees to be BRAND AMBASSADORS of your company. There are 2 sides of ‘Branding’ a company. One, of course, is the external branding, where in you advertise, sponsor events, etc. Here you clearly know how you want to be recognized and perceived by the people.
The second is the internal branding. Here its important to make sure that employees can identify themselves with the external branding of the company. If you say “We make the world a smarter place” to the whole world, and if your own employees ridicule this statement, then that is a branding fiasco. An internal branding exercise has to bridge these gaps. If a company gets the internal branding right, then the employees are going to be great brand ambassadors for the company. It’s a form of viral marketing and its impact is tremendous.
Coming back to blogging, companies need to train their employees on information security, confidentiality and intellectual property. Since decades, companies were looking at ways to stop employees to talk in the public. But now, they need to redefine the strategy, they need to train employees to talk (write) and talk positively. Blogging is a powerful tool, we need to leverage this by training employees to express their opinion. First, we need to create intranet blogs, which can be internal to a company. This has many positive effects, but most importantly one can guage the employee trends, concerns, moods, and more. Second, we need to publish chosen internal blogs in the Internet as Staff Blogs. This can be made interactive with forums and groups as well. This is a killer branding strategy. It gives a great platform to engage, interact and involve your target audience. An excellent example is Google Blog: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/
An article in Economic Times by Rajan Srikanth, President, Asia, Mercer Human Resource Consulting Group covers the Blogs and Staff Privacy concerns in good detail. You can refer it for more details.
Cheers to bloggers! Cheers to Freedom of Speech!