Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

personal info on corporate blogs

Expand Messages
  • Carol H Tucker
    although I can see advantages to creating and keeping a professional blog on a corporate site, I would caution any person against putting personal information
    Message 1 of 5 , Aug 25, 2002
    • 0 Attachment
      although I can see advantages to creating and keeping a professional blog on
      a corporate site, I would caution any person against putting personal
      information on their blog -- there are too many potential HR issues!

      Scenario 1: in the midst of a journal entry dealing with insurance coverage
      issues, an employee makes the revelation that s/he has tested positive for
      HIV. Within a month, that same employee is complaining that s/he is being
      harassed in the lunch room and other common areas and that HR is not
      responding strongly enough. S/he leaves, and files a case with the EEOC
      stating that the company failed to respond appropriately -- and provides the
      blog as proof that the management knew about the situation and failed to
      act.

      2nd scenario: in the midst of some re-structuring and changes in one
      department, several associates start posting information about lack of
      communication, problems that are being overlooked and other incidents that
      have occurred. Although there is no response from upper management at the
      time, within six months [in the course of their annual review], each of
      those employees are criticized for "lack of team playing" and are told that
      "negative attitudes" are not appropriate and will hurt their future
      advancement. These critiques become part of the employees' permanent
      personnel file.

      In each case, putting personal information on a corporate site has put
      either the employee or the organization at risk.

      There is one other scenario that comes to mind, but this is more pertinent
      to the issue of keeping information up on an intranet without a copy
      elsewhere, rather than personal versus professional blogging: A manager is
      writing up a manual of procedures, posting it on the blog to make it
      available for comments and questions. S/he comes in one morning, tries to
      open the blog to check on a policy, and receives a message that the
      organization has decided to freeze the content because there is evidence of
      an outside intrusion. Because all of the information existed in that blog,
      s/he must retract their steps and duplicate the research to get the answer
      to the question.

      thanx
      carol

      Carol H. Tucker

      "Ideas are capital; everything else is just money" [Deutsche Bank advert]
    • Phil Wolff
      Dear Carol H. Tucker: Your post to the K-Logs mailing list prompts to me to respond. You said... ... You then wrote three realistic examples. ... First, the
      Message 2 of 5 , Aug 26, 2002
      • 0 Attachment
        Dear Carol H. Tucker:
        Your post to the K-Logs mailing list prompts to me to respond. You said...
        > Although I can see advantages to creating and keeping a professional blog on a corporate site, I would caution any person against putting personal information on their blog -- there are too many potential HR issues!

        You then wrote three realistic examples.
        > Scenario 1: in the midst of a journal entry dealing with insurance coverage issues, an employee makes the revelation that s/he has tested positive for HIV. Within a month, that same employee is complaining that s/he is being harassed in the lunch room and other common areas and that HR is not responding strongly enough. S/he leaves, and files a case with the EEOC stating that the company failed to respond appropriately -- and provides the blog as proof that the management knew about the situation and failed to act.

        First, the question of medium. You have the same issue if the employee says these things in any forum and they're true. Blog, email, bulletin board, paper diary, voice mail; all the same. That leaves the communication:
        Does the employee have a reasonable expectation that every post is read and considered as actionable by management? An employee has a responsibility to attempt effective communication with management; writing these notes in a locked away diary, in a hidden web site, or buried among 10,000 routine posts may not be effective. If the employee points to pertinent blog items in a meeting or by email and the posts are accessible, the communication loop may be complete.

        Does management pay attention, read every item, and generally consider them to be to be trust- and action-worthy? A question of fact.

        Are discrimination and harassment present? If so, supervisors and HR must follow through. Blogging, like email, makes things go faster and leaves a record; not in-and-of-themselves bad.

        Worrying about records is an after-the-fact, CYA, "compliance" concern. Trade-off your business's fear of litigation against the operational and strategic payback from more and better communication and learning. Shutting down communication, teaching self-censorship and punishing people for expressing themselves, creates a climate where problems fester and grow. You've seen this before where executives have an open door but kill the messenger; no one brings bad news until it is too late.

        How about reprisal?


        > 2nd scenario: in the midst of some re-structuring and changes in one department, several associates start posting information about lack of communication, problems that are being overlooked and other incidents that have occurred. Although there is no response from upper management at the time, within six months [in the course of their annual review], each of those employees are criticized for "lack of team playing" and are told that "negative attitudes" are not appropriate and will hurt their future advancement. These critiques become part of the employees' permanent personnel file.

        Abusive behavior becomes more visible, with or without a company policy. Again, the problem is not with the blogs, or what people write in them, but with bad behavior. While managers can "paper" someone, blogs offer a solid record of their own.
        > In each case, putting personal information on a corporate site has put either the employee or the organization at risk.

        Again, the risk is in bad behavior, not in the communication or record of it. Will this make HR more interested in preventive measures?
        Carol asks the IT question: Backup, Reliability, and Access.
        > There is one other scenario that comes to mind, but this is more pertinent to the issue of keeping information up on an intranet without a copy elsewhere, rather than personal versus professional blogging: A manager is writing up a manual of procedures, posting it on the blog to make it available for comments and questions. S/he comes in one morning, tries to open the blog to check on a policy, and receives a message that the organization has decided to freeze the content because there is evidence of an outside intrusion. Because all of the information existed in that blog, s/he must retract their steps and duplicate the research to get the answer to the question.

        These are well understood and managed risks. Most outages are not life threatening, especially at this early stage in blogging.

        Blending personal and work topics in your blog has its risks. HR does have a role in klogging. Among other things:

        Encourage understanding of work/life issues.
        Promote the learning organization, knowledge management, social capital.
        Fight for talent, nurture talent, retain talent.

        What can kloggers do about it?

        In my Bloggers for Hire introduction to Gwen Harlow, I reviewed fences some bloggers put up between parts of their lives. You have four choices (so far):

        Shut up. Censor yourself.
        Narrowcast. Write in this box for these people, that box for those, hope nobody peeks.
        Wear masks. Hide who you are.
        Live with it. Let the many parts of yoru life flow freely across each other.

        Private blogs and one-time blogs will come with Groove-like security, creating more options.

        This is a cultural choice and a pragmatic one. This choice is flavored by the spreading free-agent work ethic (you are as good as your professional reputation) and the new worker-employer compacts ("Life is just too damn precious!") flavor our choices. No blanket policy works for everyone everywhere always.

        These are exactly the kinds of scenarios you should expect from seasoned HR and corporate legal professionals. Most of them have bled over these problems and experienced the downside. If you approach klogging as one more medium (with IM, email, etc.), you can apply existing policies and move on to upside maximization.

        [aka klogs]




        Philip Wolff
        evanwolf group
        http://dijest.com/
        http://dijest.com/aka/ a klog apart
        US 1-510-444-8234
        pwolff@...


        ---------------------------------
        Do You Yahoo!?
        Yahoo! Finance - Get real-time stock quotes

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Nancy White
        ... There is an adage in the online facilitation world: offline organizational dysfunction becomes even more dysfunctional online. While the attention here is
        Message 3 of 5 , Aug 27, 2002
        • 0 Attachment
          >Re: personal info on corporate blogs


          There is an adage in the online facilitation world: offline organizational
          dysfunction becomes even more dysfunctional online. While the attention
          here is on the blogs, in an ideal world the attention would be on creating
          a healthier organization where the transparency and openness of a Klog
          would be a blessing, instead of a curse.

          Our tools are just that. Tools. But at the root we still build off of our
          organizational values and processes (or lack thereof!) Blame not the tool...

          Nancy




          Nancy White
          Full Circle Associates - http://www.fullcirc.com - 206-517-4754
        • Garth Kidd
          Carol, I think your new problems with corporate blogs are mainly familiar problems with blogs added. I ve heard plenty of tales with all three templates:
          Message 4 of 5 , Aug 27, 2002
          • 0 Attachment
            Carol, I think your new problems with corporate blogs are mainly
            familiar problems with blogs added. I've heard plenty of tales with all
            three templates:

            "Employee uses [recorded medium] to prove management knew about
            [something] with relation to [lawsuit]."

            "Manager finds covert way of punishing employee for exposing his
            incompetence in public."

            "Team couldn't trust data after network break-in and had to reproduce
            results from scratch."

            Coming soon: news articles about a company's surprise at copies of every
            employee's weblogdata.root files being subpoenaed during a lawsuit.

            The subpoena itself should be obvious, but companies always seem to be
            shocked to find a new "temporary" medium being requested in this way.
            Everyone is so focussed on the latest content (most recent mail, most
            recent postings) that they completely forget the archives. "What do you
            mean, our email can be used as evidence against us?"

            Regards,
            Garth.
          • andilinks@attbi.com
            Garth writes (in response to Carol): What do you mean, our email [k-logs, IM s, etc.] can be used as evidence against us? The inverse corollary being...
            Message 5 of 5 , Aug 28, 2002
            • 0 Attachment
              Garth writes (in response to Carol): "What do you
              mean, our email [k-logs, IM's, etc.] can be used as
              evidence against us?"

              The inverse corollary being...

              "What do you
              mean, our email [k-logs, IM's, etc.] can be used as
              evidence to prove their (our) innocence?"

              For every drawback given by Carol there is its reverse.

              "Employee uses [recorded medium] to prove management
              knew about
              [something] with relation to [lawsuit]."

              or

              "Management uses [recorded medium] to prove they didn't
              know about
              [something] with relation to [lawsuit]."

              etc...

              Thanks to Garth for his concise summaries.

              Andi
            Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.