Category Archives: social media

Fallout from Facebook Case?

According to the Service Employees International Union, Sodexo settled a speech case with the National Labor Relations Board concerning its media policy for employees. 

“As a result, Sodexo has issued a new media policy that does not infringe upon the right of workers to speak about their working conditions and workplace issues. Sodexo must notify all workers in the U.S. about the policy change,” according to SEIU.

The union had filed an unfair labor practice against Sodexo, saying the company’s media policy was “extremely restrictive.” It had ordered employees not to speak with the media and if asked for comment, they were to immediately contact their manager or corporate communications department.

“SEIU filed an unfair labor practice charge with the NLRB, arguing that the media policy was impermissibly broad and had the effect of intimidating workers out of exercising their long-established right to speak in public and advocate for improvements in their working conditions,” according to the union.

The new policy “makes clear that restrictions on workers’ speech only apply when they are speaking ‘on behalf of’ the company — something which rarely, if ever, happens,” according to the SEIU

In the Facebook case — involving an ambulance company employee who was fired for her disparaging comments about her boss that she posted on her Facebook page — the company settled its NLRB case by agreeing to amend its Internet policy barring employees from making disparaging remarks online.

The ambulance company’s settlement with the fired employee was not disclosed.

Only for Government Work …

As large financial institutions in the United States gambled their way into insolvency before seeking government help, it seems as if employees at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission were too busy viewing porn to find out before disaster struck.

At least, in Chicago, they were, according to this story by ABC’s WLS-TV affiliate.

“The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has now disciplined 33 employees for accessing pornography while on the job, using government computers. … Many of them were lawyers and senior officials, and some were in Chicago.

“Some of the employees spent every working hour looking at internet pornography then attributed their behavior to an addiction.”

In private industry, it’s so understood that porn is off-limits that it’s not even one of the most-often blocked sites, according to this recent story on HREOnline™. The top three blocked sites are Facebook, YouTube and MySpace.

While those sites still offer potential for slacking off, there’s at least the potential that employees are using them for work-related purposes. You can’t even make that argument about porn — and it says a lot about the culture, management and training of such an organization that SEC employees would feel comfortable viewing porn at work.

Most Read Stories on HREOnline™ Last Week

Here’s what our readers found most interesting on HREOnline™ last week:

 Time to Re-Engage: Top businesses for HR practices — according to an exclusive recalibration of Fortune‘s “Most Admired Companies” list — are taking employee engagement very seriously in this economy.

Pinpointing Leadership Qualities: Susan Meisinger’s latest column on the way social networking is changing the way HR leaders think of legal risks or recruiting opportunities. It also should make them think about the way they select high-potential candidates for leadership-development programs.

Modifying Preconceived Notions: A study suggests millennials are happier with their bosses than many workplace observers thought; happier than baby boomers or Gen Xers. There could be many reasons for the phenomenon, experts say.

Ensuring Parity: The most significant points about complying with the Mental Health Parity Act and an update on the COBRA benefits — as modified by the economic-stimulus act — are summarized in this month’s Legal Clinic.

HR Costs Rebounding? A new report on human-capital effectiveness finds HR costs for organizations are rebounding to pre-recession levels. But does that mean the war for talent is back on? 

Most Read Stories on HREOnline™

Last week’s most popular articles on HREOnline™  — See what you may have missed:

* Bill Kutik’s latest column: When Will They Ever Learn?

The learning management vendors, now solidly selling talent management, are bubbling these days. Cornerstone OnDemand has announced its intention to go public; Plateau has shucked off its heritage of selling installed systems in favor of SaaS; and Saba (already public) is pioneering collaboration tools for corporate use.

* Chilling Worker Speech on Facebook

The NLRB’s case against an ambulance company that fired an employee for a posting on Facebook really boils down to traditional labor law, experts say. Can a worker be fired for bad-mouthing a supervisor who denied them access to union representation? The decision will have implications for company policies on social-media use.

* A New Era for HR Perks?

Increased public scrutiny has probably contributed to the leveling off of executive perquisites, but a recent analysis shows that two-thirds of HR executives receive some form of perk. The larger the company, the more likely HR leaders would receive perks, although there were industry differences.

* HR’s Role in ERISA Regulation

New regulations have been handed down from the U.S. Department of Labor related to fiduciary requirements for fee disclosures in retirement accounts, including 401(k)s. HR can play a key role in compliance by effectively getting the new information out to employees, experts say. 

* Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes in Congress

As the United States braces itself for a Republican-led House of Representatives after the sweeping GOP victories in the midterm elections, experts weigh in on what it all means for HR. 

HR Marketing Trends Report Bodes Well

If the latest survey from HRmarketer is any indication — and I think it is — brighter days lie ahead for HR.

HRmarketer’s Trends in HR Marketing report, issued a few days ago, shows HR and benefits vendors plan to increase their marketing budgets in 2011; what’s more, the report reflects an overall increase in supplier optimism in talent management, employee recognition, consulting, training, assessments and other HR industries, as well as a general acceptance of social media as a marketing tool.

In the report, most vendors surveyed said they planned to increase or maintain their marketing budgets in 2011, a pretty noticeable turnaround from last year, when 30 percent of respondents said they would reduce their budgets.

“As another year of sluggish recovery draws to a close, we’re heartened to discover a great deal of optimism from HR suppliers about 2011,” says Mark Willaman, founder and CEO of “The challenge for vendors will be to transform the knowledge and insights revealed in our report into action.”

In the report, nearly 95 percent of HR vendors said their participation in social-networking and social-media marketing increased this year and will continue to increase in 2011. Also rising in popularity is the self-publishing of original content, such as white papers, eBooks and research reports — which bodes well for writers and editors here at HRE, always on the hunt for industry trends and sentiments.

I guess I’m not surprised by this uptick. We caught wind of the same optimism at the HR Technology(R) Conference last month in Chicago — not just in terms of its largest-ever attendance, but also in the sense of optimism that permeated the exhibit hall, sessions and conversations.

You think it’s safe to uncross our fingers now?

Social-Media Policies Need to Catch Up With Reality

A pretty interesting report came across my computer screen just now — a survey showing a wide disparity between the increased use of social media in the workplace and the dearth of policies to ensure it’s being used properly and effectively.

A top finding of this  Wave VI in the Social Media Index survey is that, despite a 35-percent increase in social-media consumption, more than half of the nearly 3,000 global IT, HR and finance professionals polled either do not have a social-media policy at their company or are unsure if they do. One other interesting note: HR professionals spend an average of six hours per week engaging with social-media content, versus about four with editorial content and about three with vendor content. 

Spun a different way, the survey — by and PJA Advertising + Marketing — finds that, although social-media policies may be hard to come by in many companies, 40 percent of IT and finance respondenets and 46 percent of HR respondents say their workplace now makes it “easy” or “very easy” to use social media on the job.

“As user-generated content continues to make up a greater percentage of a professional’s week,” says George Krautzel, “companies need to accelerate their thinking about two things: how to guide employees on properly representing their company when engaging, and how to make their own IP accessible in social channels.”

Or, in the words of Mike O’Toole, president at PJA, the results of the survey make it “clear that you really need to bring social media and user-generated content into all the ways you communicate with your colleagues and customers to be effective.”

There’s a “clear opportunity cost,” he says, “if you don’t have a simple, clear policy that balances self-monitoring with company regulations. And since marketers are the owners of where social practices are moving for companies, these policies really ought to be coming out of collaboration between marketing and legal, with marketing leading the charge.”

Hadn’t actually thought about who should be leading the social-media-policy charge until I read that. I suppose I could generate some arguments that CEOs, CIOs and CHROs should be in that brainstem. But O’Toole’s right about marketers. They really are leading the corporate social-media parade.