What to Do with Blogging Employees

Great! One of your employees has started a blog. Now what?

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By Cortega9 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
When I started blogging, a former employer freaked out. I would leak all of our secrets! I’d say something that reflected poorly on the company! I’d spill the beans on something highly confidential!

While I was never directly confronted about my blogging, I heard every complaint. Some of them even seem valid. The last thing you need is a member of your team compromising the rest of the team’s efforts.

If you’re running a top-notch organization, any one of your team members should be able to:

  • Clearly communicate the culture and values of the team
  • Be a brand ambassador for your organization
  • Know what to share and what not to share

These aren’t “internet-safety” or social-media tips, they’re what any good organization should expect of its team members– online or off!

When your employees/team members start blogging:

Read the Blog: You’ve got to know what’s being shared. Additionally, some of your quieter team members might surprise you with excellent insights. Further, let the team member know that you’re reading along. She will appreciate your attention and know that you’re watching.

Encourage: When your team member posts something interesting, take him to lunch and pick his brain. This is also a great opportunity to foster the team member’s understanding and develop him. If he has posted something a little off-base, you could use this time to explore the topic with him and give him some guidance.

Address the Boundaries: You don’t need to have a sit-down conversation every time one of your team members signs up for WordPress. But as you’re reading and encouraging, it doesn’t hurt to remind the team member of your clients’ confidentiality.

Take Heart!: Your team member’s blog is more than just a band-wagon trend. It means she is ready and willing to learn and contribute. Invest some of your time in encouraging her to grow and bring that enthusiasm to work with her.

I’ll never forget how angry it made me when I heard (through the grapevine) that my boss was worried I would take “everything I had learned from him” and spread it to “the competition”. Blogs are great for sharing what we’ve learned, but they’re platforms for our unique ideas and points of view.

Resist the urge (if you have it) to freak out. Afford your team members some trust and use the opportunity to develop their leadership and technical skills. Most importantly, communicate to your team the value of its insight and unique expertise. What better way to create a marketplace for fresh ideas than to foster a blogging team? Teams who blog together learn together.

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6 thoughts on “What to Do with Blogging Employees

  1. Unfortunately, working for a media company means we have people who deal directly with public messaging and any information posted about the company could be perceived as not following procedure.

    Thus I use a pseudonym and never ever mention the company that I work for. It’s a pain but it’s the only way I can be 100% honest about advice, management, and everything else I want to talk about that no one ever seems to do.

    That said, I don’t monitor employee’s private lives. We live in this amazing age where there is so much technology and people use that technology to broadcast themselves constantly. If I run across someone’s Twitter feed, Facebook profile, or blog I am not going to commit to avoiding it. I just don’t actively search.

    So long as it’s a “do no harm” situation I don’t care. That doesn’t mean the complete absence of anything negative. People are entitled to an opinion. However, libel and malice are other issues and even if it were not Facebook or other social media I would definitely shut down anyone “poisoning the well” regardless of whether it was on the clock or not. I’ve never had that situation so this is all theoretical.

    How managers handle morale is a huge issue. Overreaching on what they do in their personal time is taking a morale hit on that individual over a negative situation that has not happened and may never happen. Better to simply be aware of the situation so that if someone makes a comment about something posted on the employee’s blog I am not caught by surprise. However, if upper management were to ask me my response is still going to be “No, I was not aware. I don’t monitor my employee’s personal lives.” There has got to be a line we don’t cross. Unfortunately, many of my peers seem determine to blur that line as often as they can.

    1. Completely agree, Rob. Sometimes, there is a need to protect those we serve and the company for which we work. In fact, it is more and more difficult these days to separate employees’ lives and personal dealings with those of the company.

      But leaders should recognize that a blogging employee is one who is eager to grow and share ideas.

  2. Hmmm… Maybe I shouldn’t have told my colleagues about my creative career change coaching journey blog. Is that relevant to my work? hahahaha

    1. It’s relevant to your NEW work! I find that blogs are windows into people’s thoughts and aspirations. They’re great places to start on our way to building and encouraging others.

  3. Hello Justin,

    Great points. I think one of the best things we can do when a co-worker or friend starts a blog is to support and help them grow their platform. It shows you care and support what they are doing.

    Recently a co-worker started a blog and I’ve been teaching and helping him start on the right foot. It’s been fun!

    1. Absolutely, Dan. Blogging fosters deeper conversations. Deeper conversations foster greater relationships. I’m glad you’re sharing what can be hard lessons with your friend.

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