Wednesday, February 5, 2014

What's Your Social Media Policy for Employees

We recently had a great question on the Private Duty Marketing discussion group on Linked In that asked:

"How do other home care services deal with Social Media and there employees?"

This generated some great discussion and caused us to explore this issue more closely.  What is your policy regarding employees use of social media?  How will you handle it if an employee posts something on a blog, Facebook, or Linked In that has a negative impact on your company?

In exploring this issue, we came across a number of samples of company policies regarding use of social media.  Here is a compilation of points that various companies use in their policy.  Take a look.  Then let us know what you think.  You can also join in this conversation in the Private Duty Marketing discussion group.
  • When posting your point of view, you should neither claim nor imply you are speaking on Cisco’s behalf, unless you are authorized in writing by your manager to do so. If you identify yourself as a Cisco employee on any Internet posting, refer to the work done by Cisco or provide a link on a Cisco website, you are required to include the following disclaimer in a reasonably prominent place: “the views expressed on this post are mine and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cisco.”
  • Use a disclaimer. When Apple wishes to communicate publicly as a company it has well established means to do so. Only those individuals officially designated by Apple have the authority to speak on behalf of the company. If you identify yourself as an Apple employee, however, people may confuse your opinions with those of the company. In order to avoid this problem you must make clear that you are writing for yourself and on your own behalf, and not for Apple. At a minimum, we strongly recommend that you include a disclaimer similar to the following: “the postings on this site are my own and do not represent Apple’s opinions or positions.”
  • Basically, if you find yourself wondering if you can talk about something you learned at work -- don’t. Follow Best Buy’s policies and live the company’s values and philosophies. They’re there for a reason.
Just in case you are forgetful or ignore the guidelines above, here’s what could happen. You could:
• Get fired (and it’s embarrassing to lose your job for something that’s so easily avoided)
• Get Best Buy in legal trouble with customers or investors
• Cost us the ability to get and keep customers

Social Media lets you communicate incredibly fast and have your message go viral in seconds. This makes it difficult to fix an inaccurate message once you've shared it. The best thing to do is double check all content before you share it, both for accuracy and to make sure it fits into Dell's overall Social Media strategy, our Code of Conduct and any restrictions that may apply to your content based on local law (such as the FTC Endorsement Guidelines in the US) and the platform you are using (such as terms of service for the site upon which you are sharing). One of Dell's core values is winning with integrity, and that applies to Social Media as well. Dell employees hold ourselves to high ethical standards, as our Code of Conduct spells out, and that applies to Social Media just like everything else you do as a Dell employee.
Here's a link to the full texts of these and other company social media policies. 

Employee Engagement - How Are You Doing?

Do you ever wonder if your employees (caregivers and office staff) are engaged and equipped to do the best job possible?  Well, ask them!

Another article in the special "Build" supplement section of last month's Inc. magazine, discussed Gallup's recent report on employee engagement and offers a quick "tool" that may help you find out how you are doing.  The article points out that accurately measuring engagement will not only allow you to assess how happy your employees are on the job, but also determine whether that overflows into the employees' job performance.

Here are the 12 True/False questions that Gallup asked more than 25 million employees across 189 countries:
  1. I know what is expected of me at work.
  2. I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
  3. At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
  4. In the past seven days, I have received recognition or praise for good work.
  5. My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
  6. There is someone at work who encourages my development.
  7. At work, my opinion seems to count.
  8. The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.
  9. My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
  10. I have a best friend at work.
  11. In the past six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
  12. In the past year, I have have opportunities at work to learn and grow.
The first two criteria are critical; they address employees' primary needs.  The others address three stages: how workers contribute to the whole and are valued; organizational fit; and development.
This is a quick and interesting way that you could poll your caregiver and employees to get a feel for how you are doing with engaging and equipping your caregivers for success, which translates to the success of your company.  Looking at the data as a whole will give you a good indication of what you are doing right and also areas where you could improve in terms of caregiver training and retention strategies.

You can read more about this topic and many others at www.inc.com and thebuildnetwork.com.

What are some ways that you assess employee engagement at your company?

What Are You Doing to Recognize and Reward Caregivers?

By Jill Scott, Manager of Member Services for The Academy for Private Duty Home Care

This week I've been reading the last issue of Inc. Magazine and came across a couple short, but great, articles in the "Build" section at the end of the magazine.  Interestingly, the Build section focuses on "Management insights for leaders of high-growth companies" and specifically how to recruit, reward and retain top talent. Fits right in with Leading Home Care and Caregiver Quality Assurance, huh!?

The first article that caught my eye was "What motivates employees to perform at their best? Rewards, yes, but perhaps not the kind you'd expect."  From our research and also the results of the 2013 Private Duty Benchmarking Study by Home Care Pulse, appreciation and recognition are the top ways to retain caregivers.  This article indicates that companies are moving away from cash rewards and are offering travel incentives; however, they offer this caveat:
"Recent studies show that employees respond better to noncash rewards and other incentives than they do to an extra injection of moolah. It is, however, a fine line. According to the Journal of Economic Psychology, employees do choose cash over noncash rewards when given the choice in the abstract. But they change their minds when presented with a specific noncash reward. More important, other research suggests that noncash incentives produce a greater measurable boost in productivity than cash does."
Not only is it interesting to see that companies are offering different methods of reward and recognition to employees who earn it, but the research is showing that the employees that do earn these rewards in turn are more loyal to their employer and are more productive on the job.

Now, we understand that travel incentives and time off may not be realistic for your company at this point, especially considering cost alone, but there are ways that you could offer specific non-cash rewards that fit your budget that will still have a positive effect on your turnover rate and employee loyalty.  For example, you could offer gift cards to a local upscale restaurant so a caregiver can have a nice evening out on the town (and maybe even arrange for childcare, if they have children at home).  Or, if you have caregivers that travel long distances, offer gift cards to gas stations.  There are lots of ways you can offer non-cash rewards and recognition to employees that don't have to cost as much as a vacation to the Bahamas. Just make sure you carefully define how and why a caregiver can earn such rewards, so you aren't necessarily handing them out to everyone or alternatively, no one is able to earn them.

What are some ways that you reward and recognize your caregivers and office staff?

Do you find that it encourages loyalty and increases productivity?

I'll pass along interesting articles and information that I find in Inc. and on The Build Network, but I encourage you to take a look at the information they have available, too.