It takes a great deal of hard work by many people to make a company prosper. Yet it takes only one disgruntled employee to taint a company’s reputation and cause irreparable damage. In this digital age where almost everyone carries a smart phone, it is easier than ever for employees to voice concerns through social media and expose businesses to the glare of bad publicity.
Underestimating the power of social media can be a fatal mistake. Employees have access to sensitive information. A tweet or a post could bring an organisation into disrepute, infringe data protection and cause untold reputational harm. The internet can be unforgiving and sensitive information may keep circulating to the perpetual detriment of a business.
There are a number of measures businesses can implement to avoid disputes or leaked information. Measures can include -
- Businesses having codes of conduct with clear guidelines regarding what action a business will take in the event of a leak of sensitive information.
- A social media policy which clearly defines what information is classed as confidential information and what is appropriate for employees to post about their business, who can post it and if there are any other restrictions.
- A written employment agreement in place, containing confidentiality clauses prevent an employee from using or disclosing any confidential information particularly when the employee leaves the business.
Whilst putting measures in place to mitigate against the risks of leaked information may go some way to keeping businesses safe it is also vital that businesses consider the reasons why their employees wish to voice their concerns externally and speak up about matters that affect their workplace. Many employees may not feel comfortable raising concerns internally for fear of retaliation.
Employees without the means to raise concerns can have a detrimental impact on a business and can lead to an unhappy workforce. Failure to create an environment for employees to raise their concerns may also make it more likely that employees will voice their concerns through other alternative means such as social media regardless of policies a business has put in place.
Providing a safe and supportive environment for reporting concerns can balance the dilemma a business faces between keeping sensitive information in house and at the same time allowing employees an effective outlet to raise their concerns in a safe, transparent and supportive environment.
Many businesses are increasingly seeking the services of specialised and trusted external whistleblowing service providers to encourage their staff to raise concerns. Not only does this provide staff with a safe environment to speak up, this will also provide the business with assurances that information is gathered in a secure and controlled environment without the risk of sensitive information being leaked.
If you would like a cost effective quote for an external and independent whistleblowing service please contact Sean McAuley, SeeHearSpeakUp Senior Manager by contacting him directly on 01224 049449.