Email security provider Teneros has introduced a SaaS product called Social Sentry aimed at “protecting against the risks of employee social networking communications,” reports the New York Times‘ Bits blog. Teneros says its service eliminates risks such as leaks and brand damage.
This sort of monitoring strikes me as a counterproductive false promise. It’s a false promise because monitoring employees’ online social networking activity will only enable employers to discover any problems after they’ve occurred. Counterproductive because it telegraphs to your employees that you don’t trust them. Lots of companies like to say their employees are their most valuable asset, while they actually treat their employees as liabilities. In my view, that’s the problem with the advertised purpose of Social Sentry; treating your employees as liabilities is corrosive of the trust that is necessary to build the dynamic workforce a company needs to compete.
Monitoring what employees do on Facebook and Twitter, and warning them you will be watching them for leaks, security breaches, and other bad behavior is a very uncreative response to the challenges presented by social networking media. It is an approach that won’t help your employees learn to use social media networking effectively. Instead, it will discourage employees from gaining experience with social media. The result? A workforce that won’t have the skills now necessary for working with partners, suppliers, and customers.