Naked gun cop shows why employers like The Met need to do more to educate staff on the impact of their online behaviour

What an employee posts online, even in a personal guise, can have direct implications for their employer. This is a problem that we’ve seen before, from naked policeman in public sector organisations like The Met to offensive retail staff in Currys and PC World, and it’s a problem we can expect to see time and time again unless businesses start taking a proactive approach to educating their employees about online literacy.

Following the sacking of naked bobby Malcolm Thomas, a senior Met source said on the incidence that: “Firearms officers must behave impeccably in their professional and personal life. They cannot lay themselves open to blackmail or disclose information that could put them or their colleagues at risk. Armed officers keep surveillance on terrorists and serious criminal suspects. It is not appropriate that their most personal details should be open for anyone to view.”

Employers need to be proactive in ensuring that their workforce understands the impact of their online activity not just for them, but for the wider business. To make social media work for a company, employers must:

  • Discuss it; social media is about engagement so talk about it
  • Introduce social media standards as part of a company code of conduct. whilst giving individuals room to communicate their ideas
  • Train key members of staff as social media Tsars (perhaps with some younger staff who understand the digital landscape)
  • Provide training as part of annual and introductory reviews for all staff
  • Set up official social media accounts across the major platforms
4 Comments
  • Points well made Louis. This shows us why reputation is becoming more and more important for both individuals and businesses.

    There are no secrets online anymore, one mistake can be viewed for a very long time. Personal and professional life is integrating apace, now is the time to take your online presence seriously. This issue is not going to go away.

    November 11, 2009 at 10:06 am
  • What a fantastic comment. It has always seemed like madness to me that individuals will post online information about themselves or their organisations that they would never dream of shouting out loud in the street…and yet on the street people pass by and soon forget what they have heard, on line it stays with you and follows you around forever.

    It is time that individuals woke up to both the dangers and powerful opportunities of managing their reputation online.

    November 16, 2009 at 3:24 pm
  • Is it not the case that people working for the police force will naturally tend to have a higher code of behavior than members of the regular workforce.

    The police are supposed to be the exemplar in society and have special restrictions, such as the fact that they cannot operate a secondary income or partake in any business activity what so ever, outside of their job roles.

    A lot of high profile internet markets such as ed dale, eben pagan and I suspect a lot of others go by pen names, because of their high online visibility, privacy becomes more of an issue, and they need to take such measures to protect their public lives.

    As social media and peoples net presence grows, and tools such as twitter, linkedin, facebook etc become more and more the norm. I think the need to protect people private lives would be paramount, so perhaps it will be the norm for marketers and anyone else with high net presence because of their work to adopt pen names.

    This should prevent cases such as the above to happen.

    November 17, 2009 at 9:19 pm
  • Darrel Kientzy
    Reply

    Fantastic post.

    May 20, 2010 at 1:16 am

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