When Employees Sabotage You
The images are striking. So are the news reports.

A YouTube video of a Domino’s Pizza employee doing very unhygienic
things to food he was preparing. Employees of Burger King and KFC taking
baths in the prep room sinks of their restaurants. The Burger King video was
posted on YouTube. The KFC employees posted their pictures on Myspace.

Most likely, the employees who posted them simply thought it would be
harmless fun to do so.

But, the O’Reilly Factor and the Late Show with David Letterman both showed
the videos and pics on national television.

You can imagine the commentary afterward.


SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS NEVER GO COMPLETELY AWAY


These videos are still online.

So are many TV news reports of the Domino’s employees being fired and
charged. There’s also a TV news report of the manager of the KFC being
taken by surprise, when the reporter showed her still-images of the video of
the KFC employees. The reporter also showed them to people waiting in the
drive-thru, and got their thoughts and comments. Then she got video of them
leaving the drive-thru without their food

The videos and images created a public relations crisis for all three
companies, and put them all into reputation management mode.

More recently, an NFL player posted some unkind tweets about his team that
were picked up by ESPN, MSG, etc. Sports fans everywhere found out about
them. The player is no longer with the team, which had to do some major P.R.
damage control.


THE BOTTOM LINE


Social media is here to stay. Your business or organization may not be using
it, but chances are some or all of your employees use it. What are they saying
about you?

Your employees are your 24/7 brand ambassadors. Ideally, they’re happy,
committed to their jobs, and positively promote your corporate image.

If you don’t have a corporate social media policy in place, now is the time to
do so. The P.R. community is still buzzing about how the Domino’s video
took a solid, stable 50-year-old American icon, and shook it to its foundation.
Not to mention the financial impact from the loss of business and time spent
repairing a corporate image.  

Proceed carefully, but definitely proceed. You can’t stop your employees
from participating in social media, and as a quality organization, you don’t want
to. But, guidelines and a code of ethics can go a long way toward preventing
a crisis management situation, and damage to your image, brand and bottom
line.

You may also want to consider consulting with your H.R. specialist and your
corporate counsel. Have your employees help you develop the policy, so
they buy into it right from the beginning. Be clear that you consider them your
brand ambassadors. A good policy will clearly define what you’ll tolerate,
while still allowing them to be themselves online.


Posted on 5/5/10
SOCIAL MEDIA SABOTAGE
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Raw video footage of Domino's
employees violating health laws
while preparing food.
News story about fast food
employees posting photos of
themselves bathing in the
restaurantsink.
Ithaca, NY   607-280-3840   info@ithacapr.com