Not all of you. And certainly not every time you’re engaging in some form of social media communication. But lest I get into another argument with family and friends, I will focus this edition of the social media soapbox on the impact of rudeness in the workplace.
A very interesting piece was published this past weekend in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, in which the author posits that “technology increases rudeness quotient”. The article offers the results of an etiquette survey where 75% believe that “mobile etiquette is worse than it was a year ago” and 20% say “they know they’re being rude but do it because everyone else does it.” Because everyone else does it?? If someone told you to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge holding your BlackBerry, would you…
I digress. The point is that this is more than simply looking the other way at grammatical and punctuation atrocities in a text, or even shaking our collective heads at how “OMG” and “LOL” were officially added last week to our lexicon. Rather, the findings here offer a glimpse into a potential problem in your workplace, because, as the Tribune article concludes: “You represent your employer. If you’re being rude with your tech use while on the job, it can reflect poorly on your employer.”
Employer Take Away: What should you as an employer take away from this development?
No matter the particular business in which your company engages, the ability to communicate professionally and appropriately with customers, the general public, and even co-workers, will prove critical to your success at the end of the day.
Your employees are your face and your mouthpiece, and your policies and training need to reflect the importance placed not only on what your employees are saying, but on how it is being said. Prior blog posts have discussed the need for social media policies that address bright-line rules involving discrimination/harassment, defamation, and testimonials about products and services. However, while you don’t want to necessarily impinge too drastically on individual styles, and you certainly don’t want to create rules that have an impact on protected classes, you and your HR staff would be wise to train all employees on the art of workplace communication. In that respect, it is critical for your employees to understand that the informality and ease of social media communication should not enable an acceptance of an increased rudeness quotient.