I recently read a really great article in The Wall Street Journal that was sent to me by one of my clients. The article discusses how employees are being hired into jobs after they already are a known brand and have a social media presence. The question now is how to handle the ramifications of this trend.

 

This is the first of two blogs on this subject. The first will review this issue from the employer’s side. The second will look at it from the employee’s vantage point.

 

Hiring new employees who have an online presence can greatly benefit a company. The potential for promoting your company and its products or services from an employee’s Twitter account or a blog is unlimited. However, the freedom for employees to express themselves online also can have some detrimental effects to your firm.

 

Here are five points to consider if you’re managing such employees:

 

  • Set up some rules for online behavior for your staff, concerning the appropriate way to support the company, what can and can’t be conveyed, and the amount of online time they may use during work hours.
  • Make sure your co-branded employees are aligning their brand to the company brand, in a way that is authentic to them. The firm and personal brands support each other.
  • Establish working goals for all employees, including both those who are branded and those who don’t have an online presence. The last thing you want is dissension about varying responsibilities.
  • Define who owns what. It’s essential that your employees understand what they can consider to be their online content and what belongs to the company. The potential for future revenue also should be well defined.
  • Be flexible. It’s a brave, new world out there, and having employees who are adept at building an online presence can be invaluable to your company. Protect your company’s rights first, and then give your employees the opportunity to grow.