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Can You Really Let Employees Loose on Social Media?

by Martyn Etherington (Mitel) interviewed by Gerald C. (Jerry) Kane
published by MIT Sloan Management Review, 2014
Ref SMR56206

Can you Really Let Employees Loose on Social MediaIn this fascinating interview, Gerald C. (Jerry) Kane asks Mitel’s Martyn Etherington about the Ontario business communications company’s social media policies. Mitel’s only rule for employees on social media is to use their best judgement – but has the policy proved successful?

‘I wanted us to really transform the way we leverage digital and social in order to understand our customers better, provide a great customer experience and to amplify our brand message,’ says Martyn.

Following a social media training programme, the company increased the number of Twitter users among its employees from 30 to 600.

‘We make it very easy for our employees to use social,’ says Martyn. ‘Whenever we put out an announcement, we put out a whole series of canned tweets that our employees can cut and paste or edit. We’ve tried to take away the fear.

‘Our first goal towards becoming a social enterprise is to empower employee engagement, and then we would refine over time.’

Martyn stresses that the company is in the early part of the journey and learning as it goes.

‘But from what I have seen, learned and experienced, with our social programme, we are moving in the right direction and this is really the beginning of a company on the move.’ 

Purchase the full article now

About the authors

Gerald C. (Jerry) Kane is an Associate Professor of Information Systems at the Carroll School of Management, Boston College, US.

Martyn Etherington was Chief Marketing Officer and Chief of Staff at Mitel until January 2015.

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