Reputations Online — Risky or Not?

June 03, 2009

Reputations Online — Risky or Not?

    I recently Twittered about this survey since I thought it had some excellent information. The research comes from Deloitte LLP and is their 2009 Ethics & Workplace Survey. The topic this year was social networking and reputational risk in the workplace. Timely.  Since we conducted our survey on how executives manage their reputations online, Deloitte’s survey added some nuances that we did not cover. Deloitte had Opinion Research survey 2000+ employees and 500 executives in the U.S.  Here are some of the more interesting facts that caught my eye.


  • 74% of employees believe that it is easy to damage a corporate reputation through social media (That’s high awareness for sure)
  • 24% say they don’t know if their company has a social media policy and 11% say their company has one but they don’t know what it is about.
  • 49% say that they would not change their online behavior if their company had a corporate social media policy (the survey also found that 29% of employees were being a bit more careful about what  they did online in insure that they kept their jobs in these tough economic times)
  • Somewhat more than one third said that they rarely or never think about their boss, colleagues or clients when participating online (I’d call that risky)
  • 26% say that their company does not allow them on certain social networking sites during work hours (I hear that often when traveling in Europe and was initially surprised. But there seems to be a large enough portion of the workforce that has no access to certain of these sites.)


  • Only 15% of executives are addressing risks from social media at the board level
  • Only 17% say that their companies have management systems in place to identify online social media risks (Not good news)
  • Only 22% say that their company has formal social media policies and guidelines in place for employees (This is increasingly important as the FTC becomes more involved with social media and begins thinking about changing rules.)
  • 67% of executives say that their company does not discuss how to use social media to leverage their strengths or mitigate risks (That’s an awfully high percentage. This is risky in itself!)



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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of reputations.


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