An aspect of the digital workplace that keeps many executives awake at night is its constant connection to social media, and the impact this can have on a company's brands, directors' reputations, and ultimately revenue.

Human error is a leading cause of cyber incidents, and hacktivism is not far behind. However, with the social market (and gossip) place only a tap away, dissatisfied employees do not need coding skills to damage a company's reputation through individual allegations.

Businesses have several strategies at their disposal to minimise risk, and turn their employees into brand ambassadors:

Cyber risk prevention
  • Several organisational measures can help mitigate cyber risk, including customising IT system access permissions, designing a multi-step approval process for external interactions, and organising regular training to develop and maintain employee cyber awareness.
From a legal perspective: it is important to not only design a cyber risk policy, but to also ensure regular reviews and stress-tests against the evolving technological landscape. Additionally, training requirements should be mandatory for all staff, and regular health-checks performed to ensure compliance.
Social media policy
  • While most companies are aware of the impact of social media, only some have already taken steps to create a social media policy for their employees, and connecting this to employment agreements.
From a legal perspective: social media policy design and training remain the cornerstone of managing this exposure. Policies should remain flexible so as to maintain currency with the latest social media trends and should be actively used and reviewed. A review of employment contract clauses is also advisable to ensure that employees are required to comply with policies and procedures as a condition of their employment relationship.
Spotting and managing dissatisfied employees.
  • Universal employee satisfaction is not achievable. However, smart companies manage the risk of dissatisfied employees carefully, and provide outlets for issues to be communicated and solved through close cooperation.
From a legal perspective: many organisations choose to develop specific processes and channels to enable whistleblowing, and promote an organisational culture of transparency, particularly when present in certain jurisdictions. Another option to gauge workforce engagement, and spot potential issues, is an annual employee satisfaction survey complemented by specific mitigation plans ranging from individual coaching to process redesign. A dynamic approach to monitoring workplace satisfaction is critical as early detection is the best way to minimise the disruptive effect on the broader workplace. A happy, settled workforce also lowers the risk of employee claims, such as workers' compensation, discrimination, harassment and bullying claims and unfair dismissal on termination, and thus protects the company from potential legal, financial and reputational damage.

Simple measures can help companies achieve their organisational redesign goals while maintaining full compliance with legislation, and managing risks smartly.