Member Discussion

What Is Your Electronic Device Policy?

Recently had to terminate an employee. They had a company phone and computer. They had all kinds of personal information including facebook, banking apps, and much more. The phone had more personal information that i would have liked. I didnt want them to factory default because I wanted to see the contacts. So my questions what kind of policy do you have in place if any. Then the other question is what about driving. what to do while driving when receving text or emails from our office.

As for personal information on a company phone, what's the alternative? Require people to carry 2 phones, one just for business, one just for personal?

My perception is that most companies allow personal communication on company phones.

Our policy in a nutshell states that personal phones are not allowed on site, we provide company phones to our employees and those phones are to be used for work. Employees can use the company phone to communicate with non customers during the day if necessary, say to arrange pickup of a child or dinner plans. There is no expectation of privacy with what they do on that device since it is company property. For texting or emailing while in company vehicle you are supposed to wait until you reach your destination to reply or pull along the side of the road to reply.

Keefe - interesting policy re no personal phones on site at all.

So if an employee wants to text or make a quick call to talk to a friend during a scheduled break they must drive their car off the company property to do so, then drive back?

Undisclosed C,

They are allowed to use the company phone to do so, whether that is mobile or their desk phone.

Got it, that works! (I forget that landlines even exist sometimes...)

At my present employer, employees that are issued both a company vehicle and a company cell phone have the texting service on the phone disabled to avoid texting while driving. Of course, there are ways around that such as Google Voice if it's a smart phone, but the employer can testify in court that they took all steps that they could to eliminate texting while driving.

When I left my last employer I defaulted my smart phone and wiped the SD card right before turning it in as all of my contact info and personal data is in the cloud. If you are issuing your employees smart phones, there is no way you can reasonably expect they won't be used for personal business at some point. Without a written policy in place, accessing that personal information may expose you to litigation.

Many companies nowadays are paying a phone allowance and the employee buys whatever phone they want, with the requirement that it is always turned on during business hours and they can send/receive company e-mail on it. My last employer had us install a Google Device Manager to require a password to access the device and wipe it remotely if lost so that it could not be used by an outsider to access company data.

I agree with John H. that most companies expect some personal communication on a phone, and it didn't necessarily occur during the workday.

Regardless of company policy, when you are terminating someone, I would think it a courtesy to show sensitivity to not hurting someone worse when they are down. So I personally would allow them to delete all their texts, then I would capture the contacts (definitely a company asset), then do the factory default to hide their personal information.

Unless you suspect dishonesty/fraud/embezzlement and need the evidence and your corporate policy makes this access clear so there is indeed no expectation of privacy (so you don't get sued).

I like the idea of providing employees an allowance for their phone, however one downside is when the employee gives his/her cell number to clients, or the cell number is on their business card. After employee separation, clients may still call the x-employee, potentially providing the x-employee an opportunity to steer business to their new employer, or cause other mischief.

If you are going to do that I suggest using a telephone forwarding service so that the company issues a phone number to the employee, and calls are forwarded to the employee’s phone, giving the company control of the phone number.

Rob, on that point, I know many sales people who only give out / use their personal phone, to ensure the opposite happens - that their contacts can continue to talking to them uninterrupted.

Maybe you need better customers and employees. Or better customer service/retention plans.

If a customer wants to switch or an ex-employee wants to poach, a cell phone number or contact list is going to stop them in the age of social media with LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and others.

To John, and B, yes you are both right, this policy won’t stop disloyal sales people who know that their longevity at a company is likely to be short; and it certainly won’t fix a systemic customer service problem. In my own experience working for companies where I used my personal phone for business, I would receive calls from former clients even a year after I left the company. I was happy to steer them back to my former company, but less motivated x-employees, may very well ignore the call, cause mischief, or try to poach the client. Any of these options will negatively affect their previous company.

In Brazil usually the company provides a phone to use for business only.

So mostly almost everyone walks around with 2 phones... some even three...

I carry two phones, and I save all personal files in a single location with external backup. If I ever need to hand over my devices to my employer, there is nothing personal on my phone, and I can wipe my laptop by deleting one folder.

Work is work. Personal life is personal life.

Our policy is a cell phone allowance. We simply had too much discussion about which device was better and I am not an Apple kind of guy. I ended it with an allowance plan. Get whatever you want. As for laptops, the written policy is there is to be no unapproved software of any kind, period. We provide a list of what is approved, and the laptops get out-fitted with the necessary software before being turned over to the parties (by me). They get audited randomly. Company vehicles all have real-time GPS.