A big "thanks!" to KL who shared with us an interesting article over at a PR industry blog, Media Bistro (click here), about J.Crew's policy on employees blogging:
J.Crew's Internal Blogging Policy Document
May 21, 2009
With the explosion of Facebook and Twitter among all demos, especially the young and chatty, PRNewser has become interested in what both agencies and corporations are doing in regards to employees' opinions bleeding over in to potentially sensitive company issues.
The rapid-fire nature of these networks begs the question: what guidelines are given to workers when they walk through the door and who is in control of the voice you use on social nets?...
An interesting example of large company guidelines comes in the form of this propriatary document obtained from a J.Crew store employee who wished to remain anonymous. It was given to this clerk coincidentally, the same week the Domino's Pizza scandal broke.
Though it doesn't mention Twitter specifically, it seems to be the main concern as anyone with a smart phone can document occurrences or post opinions and photos in real time without the use of a company desktop.
I asked J.Crew's Senior Director of PR Heather Lynch McAuliffe a few questions about the document including whether or not it's just for the floor staff of the 300 or so stores and outlets, or if it applied to corporate people too.
McAuliffe declined, "The information that you obtained is proprietary internal company information that was provided without authorization and unfortunately we can not comment on it." ...
Blogging has become a mainstream way of communicating thoughts, experiences, and opinions. It has become imperative that as a company we define the imact of blogging as it relates to our business. Blogging, in relation to this policy, is defined as posting information on your own, or on someone else's web log, journal or diary. It also includes any other form of posting information on the Internet, such as postings on a personal web site, business networking, social networking or affinity web site, on a bulletin board, or in a chat room.
Associates who engage in blogging, even if done off premises and while off duty, should be aware that any postings related to J.Crew could have an adverse affect on the company's business interests. The risks include that information posted could be confidential or that people could view you as a spokesperson for the company.
Any concerns or complaints should be raised and resolved in productive forums available to every associate. Associates may speak with their manager, HR, or contact Open Talk Hotline (1-XXX-XXX-XXXX). Each offers the opportunity for resolution to issues raised. Blogging about such issues does not allow for dialogue that facilitates a healthy conclusion. Rather, blogging about such topics can make situations worse.
We ask that you ovserve the following guidelines:
- Do not engage in blogging using any company resources.
- Refrain from referencing J.Crew in any personal blogging.
- Do not represent yourself as a spokesperson for the company, intentionally or unintentionally. Identifying yourself as an associate has the ability to confer "insider" status to your thoughts and opinions.
- Information gained from work activities or company communications is confidential, and should be treated accordingly.
- Do not defame or otherwise discredit the company, its products, services, associates, customers, and vendors.
- Do not use the company's logos, trademarks, proprietary graphics or photographs.
I also joined a Facebook page created by a J.Crew employee (called "The J.Crew Facebook Group"), where the moderator was personally asked to close the group because the "company wants to keep there information and the distribution of its information within the company". (Incidentally, the moderator did not violate any use of information.)
I completely understand why J.Crew would want to prevent employees from sharing private, proprietary information with the public. However, I think it is also fine to have employees clarify current policies, state the qualifications (or limitations) of new promotions, or notify the public when new arrivals are expected at local stores.
What are your thoughts on the "internal blogging policy" of J.Crew? Do you disagree or agree with it (or aspects of it)?