No 'Personal' Opinions About WorkBy John Honovich, Published Jun 26, 2017, 09:24am EDT
One rising trend is the tendency for people to disclaim their statements on work related topics as their own 'opinions' or 'personal opinions'.
This is silly.
Obviously, one's work influences one's opinions (via paycheck, culture and experience). Likewise, one's opinions about work (good or bad) reflects on one's company (whether one likes it or not). Understandably, this is a response to company social media policies that frequently do not allow employees to post on behalf of their company so employees disclaim their work related statements as opinions.
Here is a fairly benign example of this approach:
Is this person 'all protected'? Hardly. However, in this case, the likelihood of problems is quite low because as this person declares:
Assa Abbloy management is probably not going to criticize an employee saying positive things about their company (after all, they are not UTC).
But how about a statement like?
Do employees need to be concerned about such statements? Should they be restricted?
The fundamental challenge is that anyone in a company now can effectively (for better or worse) act as a spokesperson (authorized or not) for a company. Even more challenging, a post on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. can gain wide coverage, often far more than a company's own press release.
People can certainly try to magically waive away such concerns by disclaiming statements as 'personal' or 'opinions' but this will not change the reality that these statements are published on public platforms that the world can see and share.
Some companies have moved to a strict no social media policy where employees are prohibited from saying anything work related (personal opinions or not). While that blocks potential positives, it is a simple to understand approach that prevents problems.
Then you have more complex issues. How do employee's opinions online reflect on one's company? Take this manufacturer's head of marketing:
Are these righteous complaints of a 'Globalist' or arrogant humblebrags? Should employees or employers care what impact or perception one's public posts have?
[Update: those tweets have since been deleted by the manufacturer head of marketing.]
As a general rule, I think that one should (1) be quiet, (2) make posts private or (3) carefully consider the impact one's public statements have before making them.
Update September 2017
Another controversial example: Tyco Specifier Defends Dahua And Hikvision Backdoors
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