A recent article about a Facebook post from an employee of the Pittsburgh Pirates caught our attention. In the article, one of the team’s pierogi mascots, frustrated with yet another losing season, commented on the recent announcement of the extension of contracts by those he viewed responsible for the team’s poor performance.
The Facebook post: “Coonelly extended the contracts of Russell and Huntington through the 2011 season. That means a 19-straight losing streak. Way to go Pirates.”
As hard as it is to believe, this kind of employee behavior is not that uncommon. OK, so you’re not the Pittsburgh Pirates, but every nonprofit or business may face the same kind of employee discord. How do you handle it?
· Acknowledge the post. It’s possible the comment was posted on a third-party social media page, but if it has taken on a life of its own or has potential to do serious damage, address it directly through your organization’s social platforms.
· Stay focused. Provide accurate background information and reasonable responses – without defensiveness. If Facebook or Twitter cannot provide the space you need to thwart an attack, then provide a thorough explanation in your blog and post the link on your social media channels.
· Seize the opportunity. Find out what other employees think about the situation. Listen to their feedback, and take their suggestions under consideration. It’s possible that the original poster was sharing insight into a real issue in your organization that needs to be addressed.
· Be Proactive. Invest in a social media plan that educates your staff on communication guidelines, expectations and strategies to protect the organization’s reputation. Make sure employees understand the boundaries of good taste and ethics, and ask them to sign a statement acknowledging that they’ve read and understand your social media guidelines.