Facebook Faceoff

I’ve just been reading a piece on HRZone about people making unpleasant remarks about the boss on Facebook and other social networking sites. The article starts:

“Just over one in ten under 35 year-olds have posted derogatory or negative comments about their boss or employer on a social networking site, according to a study.”

This got me thinking. Why are a growing number of people resorting to this rather spiky method of communication?

In my experience very few companies allow or are comfortable with internal two way communications. They tend to prefer broadcast, one way methods in an attempt to keep control of the message. Open dialogue, or one way command and control. Which do you find more engaging, more purposeful?

I know of a few places where blogging in the business is encouraged, and in fewer places still, there are some reasonably senior figures actively involved and pretty much anything goes. So what happens? I see some controversy raging from time to time, and a lot of people appreciate a more open, two way, live feel about the comms. Debate happens, and quite often when a member of staff posts something a bit edgy, it will be other colleagues and peers who may speak up and challenge the point of view. More often than not there is a consensus reached, some useful learning has been…learned, and in the best examples I’ve seen action is taken. Improvement action. On the odd occasion discussion strays into something inappropriate, well just deal with it. Remove the offense, explain briefly why and get on with the next good idea, or discussion.

This open dialogue is an important part of visible or accessible leadership. Here’s a supporting idea for you if you are interested. “Visible Leadership is Great. Can we have some please?” http://bit.ly/azUreQ

Maybe, just maybe, more companies should be open to real dialogue within the business, and the real opportunities it brings. Perhaps that way more people will want to engage with improving the business and fewer people would feel the need to flame the boss on facebook or wherever. What do you think?

Heading for the Door

Since last Summer I’ve been tracking job vacancies using highly sophisticated technology. Actually I registered for a vacancy aggregator and watched how many new vacancies they advertised each week. The number drifted slowly through the Summer, flatlined in Autumn before a typical fall just before Christmas (we all know the only dude in the job market at that time is Santa). Early in the New Year numbers picked up and they are now holding steady at levels around twice what they were last Summer.

I believe this is the start of a wave of disengagement in action. I and others have predicted that people will start to move as soon as they can. This is in part due to the lack of creative engagement practice through the tougher times. It’s a case of workers saying “you didn’t trust us when the going got tough, why should we trust you now?” and voting with their feet. No surprise to me at all. The cost to business will be significant and the disruption to service considerable. What amazes me is we’ve seen all this before – people who run businesses have very poor memories it would seem. Either that or all the talk about respect for the work force and valuing the customer is just junk, spoken in the name of short term profits.

How’s it looking where you are? Are more good people heading for the door?