A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
That might depend on what the words are. It’s possible that an ill timed comment can cost you more than a priceless painting!
A report from Harvard Business School (which I’ve just visited!) looked at recent instances of CEO misbehaviour and found that the average comment (or action) resulted in 250 negative news stories (some of which were cited up to 5 years later), and a 3.1% decline in company stock price. I’m sure many of you remember Gerald Ratner but the very fact that there are no Ratner stores left speaks volumes. Even he says that despite going on to other, more successful Ventura, he is still best known for wiping £500m off the share price of his business.
If that’s true, consider the damage that could be done to your company by one of your staff saying something inappropriate about your business, your services or your clients. Whilst a defamation claim against them may be tempting, it also has its drawbacks. For example if the employee has few assets, it won’t get you much in the way of compensation. What’s more, if they honestly and genuinely believe that what they said was true, you could lose and the resulting publicity from the court case could be bigger than their original comment.
As I’m a big believer in prevention is better than cure, training your staff on what they can and can’t say on social media can be more cost effective. Have a clear policy on the subject and make sure people know what conduct could amount that gross misconduct. If you want to talk about staff training, or have any questions about how to keep yourself on social media for the right reasons and not the wrong ones, message me on FB or LinkedIn.
Kleyman & co solicitors. The full service law firm. Actions speak louder than words.