The trouble with "I accept"

By Steve Weissman posted 08-14-2013 09:49


The top salesman at Lacoste, a certain Wade Groom, was fired recently apparently posting a photo of his paycheck on Instagram.  Whether or not you agree with his view that "a stern warning would have been more appropriate," the bigger point of the story for information professionals like us is that he had no recollection of signing or agreeing to the confidentiality agreement the company said he violated, one that may or may not have encompassed social media.

"I just clicked 'accept terms' on that, you know?" Groom told the Gothamist last week, and in so doing he perfectly exemplified one big consequence of clicking without reading.

The trick to avoiding this kind of situation – which would be so much worse if the post contained, say, internal financial forecasts – is to ensure your employees fully understand what your policies are regarding confidentiality and social media use. This means you have to do more than simply post them somewhere on a page that includes a big green button marked "I accept." Rather, you have to make a point of indoctrinating your people to the need to internalize the words they see on the screen and encourage them to speak up if they have any questions.

One organization I recently spent time with is tackling issues like this by requiring the taking of a brief online training class before being enabled to do things that might come back to bite them. Now, this may not have mitigated Groom’s particular problem as his post clearly was of a personal nature. But if the on-boarding process at LaCoste included an extra step to ensure employees understood what they were signing, his situation might never have arisen.

The corollary to this principle is that you must take the time to internalize any terms and conditions you are reading – for example, when signing up for some cloud-based service – before you push the big green button yourself. I'm sure I'm not the only one to have fallen into the habit of clicking without reading when I upgrade my iTunes, install a plug-in to my WordPress site, or avail myself of some new piece of Google functionality. But if those terms include something you wouldn't ordinarily expect or is detrimental to your best interest, this kind of laissez-faire approach to information management can be enormously problematic. To you really must spend the time to go through all the fine print.

Simply clicking “I accept” isn't near enough.

#socialmedia #changemanagement #Policies #governance #ElectronicRecordsManagement #compliance #InformationGovernance