Root Cause for employee no-nos

Companies worry about what their employees will say about them on Social Networks. And when there’s an issue, such as employee sharing some company secret on Twitter, management usually asks legal ‘to go after that person.’ Instead, it’s important to figure out the root cause of that person sharing their feelings on Facebook or another site. And a simple way of doing this is to do a simple ‘Five Why’ exercises, which basically entails asking ‘why’ over and over until you get to the real reason something happened. The Five Whys tool helps us uncover the root causes of problems or it can aid our understanding of our own motivation. We answer a central question, such as ‘Why do we come to school?’ or ‘Why does the tap leak?’ and then ask why five times.In the scenario about an employee sharing company secret, the questions would be:Why did the employee share a company secret? BecauseA) they wanted to hurt their employer orB) they didn’t know any betterIn Scenario A:– Why did they want to hurt their employer? Because they were unsatisfied?- Why were they unsatisfied? Because the company would not at listen to their concerns- Why did the company not listen to their concerns? Because there was no mechanism in place to give feedback to managementSo this should be an indication for the company to create a way for employees to express their viewsIn Scenario B:– Why didn’t they know any better? Because there was not training or guidelines for employees- Why was there no training? Because it wasn’t a high priority for the company- Why wasn’t it a high priority for the company? Because the company just assumed the employee should know better- Why did the company assume this? Because it didn’t know any better and didn’t share best practices or learn from others.So for scenario B, it’s important for companies to share their ‘war stories’ with other companies so they can learn from each other. It is important to note that it doesn’t have to be from companies in the same industry. I think there’s value in just learning from other. Another recommendation involves training. In the past, I have created ‘Guidelines and Guardrails’ for employees to help them navigate social networks. These are usually provided via an opt-in program, so the employee can feel as if they are controlling their destiny vs. having something mandated. (In a future post, I will define further what these would consist of.)It is my experience that 95% of the time, employees want to do the right thing and don’t want to hurt their employer by saying something in cyberspace.Key Take-Aways:1. Learn from other companies — share your war stories2. Create guidelines and guardrails to help employees understand how they can leverage social media without ‘risking’ their job3. Make all program opt-in, so the employee feels as if they have some control4. Give the employee the benefit of the doubt5. Leverage the 5 WHYS to get to the root cause of an issue or problem before ‘coming down hard’ on an employee

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