Last week my colleagues Andrew Walls, Stessa Cohen and I published the “Regulated Social Media Survival Guide.” While not all enterprises have strict regulations that limit how they can use social media, all do have in common the need to manage risk to brand and reputation. I’ve been at the MetricStream GRC Summit today and yesterday, and keynoters former Secretary of Defense Bill Cohen, and Chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente Bernard Tyson both emphasized that all risks really boil down to your reputation.
Taking this issue of reputation right to the individual employee level, Cohen emphasized the importance of hiring ethical people — that is the surest bulwark against enterprise risks. He shared one of his favorite sayings from his father, “You can sell your integrity, but once you’ve done that, you’ll never in your life be rich enough to buy it back.”
Tyson said that he wakes up every day thinking of the brand and reputation of Kaiser Permanente. He said that while compliance with regulations is essential, it is not the motivator for employees to do the right thing. Brand and reputation are.
With social media, both good news and bad about an organization spreads quickly, and even those organizations that are not heavily regulated and consumer facing should consider their social media risk management capabilities. But as both Cohen and Tyson emphasized, ethical people are the ultimate guarantors of your reputation. So whatever you do in setting up your risk management and compliance programs, focus the most on how to help your good people do the right things.
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