Most companies treat their employees like a product. The act of managing an employee becomes wrapped up in a broader ‘brand management’ strategy. The old way of building an employee/employer relationship is gone. Your leadership team and your supervisors are risk-adverse and they stifle innovation and creativity in the workforce. They avoid treating you like a human being out of a fear of litigation and brand erosion.
What’s worse is that you can’t be yourself, even when you are at home and off the clock, because you’re never off the clock. You can’t have a life that is separate from employment because you are always employed, even when you’re shopping for groceries or at the park with your kids. Employment is a privilege, not a right, and anything you say can & will be used against you in the court of Human Resources.
Our HR colleague, Jenn Barnes, took a risk when she outed herself on her blog. How will future employers respond when they google her name and find out that she likes cats and she enjoys reading. (Uh, really, she’s low-risk. I’ll vouch for her.) Will they understand that Jenn, aka HR Wench, has an online persona that only represents a small portion of her actual life?
Jenn’s situation reminds me of Chez Pazienza. He was a CNN employee who was fired for blogging. His story has been featured on Gawker and Huffington Post. He recently came across a memo from CNN that outlines new employee rules for blogging and posting on the internet. It’s (very poorly) written by the Standards & Practices department.
***NEW CNN POLICY REGARDING PERSONAL WRITINGS ONLINE***