This post by Michelle Golden is actually referring to dress code policies, but I think the sentiment certainly applies to what I’ve been saying around here. Just imagine this quote when it comes to employee’s use of social networking tools:
When can we treat our team members like the judgment-applying knowledge workers that they we need them to be?
A few people who don’t get it shouldn’t cause us to be big policy-making meanies to the majority who are fine. Again, the education and classes are fine, but the policies are really getting quite out of hand.
If we treat our people like babies, that’s all we’ll have left because the smart ones will leave.
As I’ve said, many, many times, if the people who work for you can’t be trusted to get their jobs done without you blocking every possible distraction or risk, you don’t need better firewalls, you need better people. Your time would be much better spend finding people you can trust, and getting on with your business. On the flip side, if the people who work for you can be trusted to do their jobs well regardless, and you don’t show them some trust and respect, someone else will.
Updated to add another great quote from a Sunday Columbus Dispatch story talking about different ways companies are allowing or blocking social networking:
Some companies and organizations embrace social media and, in certain circumstances, encourage their employees to use them to “get the word out.”
The Ohio Chamber of Commerce is one. Its employees aren’t blocked from accessing Facebook or Twitter and are encouraged to talk on the site about things they’re working on to get information out to the business community, said Julie Wagner Feasel, vice president of communication for the group.
“We discussed what would happen if something goes up that shouldn’t go up (on a social-networking site) and came to the conclusion that if we hired these employees and trust them, then we should be able to trust them to put appropriate information on Twitter,” Wagner Feasel said.
“We haven’t run into anything that’s been inappropriate, but that’s because we went into it with a level of trust with our employees.”