Forcing Engagement Is Not Engaging

Should employees be paid to tweet? Should they be required to be active on social media? This week I read a couple of different articles about how employers are leveraging their workforce toward their brand, but in a way that contradicts the approach outlined in my book, The Brandful Workforce.  While I advocate for an authentic and meaningful connection between employees and the brands they represent, others are steamrolling ahead with force.

Kudos to Venture Beat, an online news publication, for leading a new research initiative on “Work and Privacy” that is looking at how professionals use their social media accounts and whether their employers are encroaching on their privacy. While the survey is still ongoing, it is astonishing that they are already finding some employees (17%) saying they are required to use their social media accounts to discuss and promote their work. It is one thing to encourage employees to get involved, but making it a requirement, it going over a dangerous edge. Organizations who follow this path may be fostering fake promotion that will be easily discovered and brought to shame. What if employees don’t genuinely want to promote their work?  What about new approaches that encourage employees to raise concerns and get involved in solutions? Old managerial methods such as top-down approaches – “I’m the boss. You’d better do as you’re told.” will not be sustainable in the future, particularly as the lines between the internal organization and the external brand disappear.

What do you think of forcing employees to become socially active to enhance the brand? Please share your comments. To see previous posts, please visit my blog here.