Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A draft blogging policy for ABB

One thing that has become obvious over the last couple of months is that we need a blogging policy in ABB. Some may be testing the limits, or just wonder where they are, while others seem to think no-one should blog about anything related to the company, and certainly not on company time or in the public space. The discussions we have had so far have resulted in the draft below. We expect the policy to be finalized later this fall.

"In general, the company views personal websites and weblogs positively, and it respects the right of employees to use them as a medium of self-expression. If you choose to identify yourself as an ABB employee or to discuss matters related to our technology, business or activities on your website or weblog, please bear in mind that, although you and we view your website or weblog as a personal project and a medium of personal expression, some readers may nonetheless view you as a de facto spokesperson for the company. In light of this possibility, we ask that you observe the following guidelines:

  1. Make it clear to your readers that the views you express are yours alone and that they do not necessarily reflect the views of ABB. To help reduce the potential for confusion, please put the following notice – or something similar – in a reasonably prominent place on your blog or website. "The views expressed on this website/weblog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer."
  2. The principles and guidelines that apply to ABB employees at work also apply to their online activities. Know and understand ABB's Code of Conduct and relevant Group directives and instructions.
  3. The best way to be interesting is to write about what you know. Try to add value by providing worthwhile information and perspective. If you have a deep understanding of something, talk about the challenges and issues around it. Respect your audience. ABB strives to compete fairly and thus the web should not be used for covert marketing or public relations.
  4. Be careful to avoid disclosing any information that is confidential or proprietary to the company or to any third party that has disclosed information to us. Respect the copyright of others. Be extra careful with information related to financial performance to make sure you are in compliance with financial disclosure regulations.
  5. Since your site or blog is a public space, we hope you will be as respectful to the company, our employees, our customers, our partners and affiliates, and others (including our competitors) as the company itself endeavors to be. Show proper consideration for others' privacy and avoid comments which may be derogatory in nature. This includes material that relates to aspects of gender, race, age, nationality, sexual orientation, politics, religion or physical ability.
  6. You may not attack personally fellow employees, customers, competitors, vendors, or shareholders. You may respectfully disagree with company actions, policies, or management.
  7. Remember that what you publish will remain public for a long time.
  8. Be the first to correct your own mistakes, and don't alter previous posts without indicating that you have done so.
  9. You may provide a link from your site to the corporate website. However you will require permission to use company trademarks or reproduce company material on your site.
  10. If a member of the media contacts you about an ABB-related blog posting or requests ABB information of any kind, contact Corporate Communications. Do not convey information to any outsiders that should not be made public.
  11. Ensure that your blogging activity does not interfere with your work commitments.
  12. Finally, please be aware that the company may request that you temporarily confine your website or weblog commentary to topics unrelated to the company if it believes this is necessary or advisable to ensure compliance with securities regulations or other laws. "

Feel free to comment on this draft, preferably by using the comment function on this blog, or by sending me an e-mail using my Notes address (found below my picture in the left hand column).


Paweł Barut said...

Good to see this policy. I especially appreciate sentence "In general, the company views personal websites and weblogs positively, and it respects the right of employees to use them as a medium of self-expression.".
On the other hand, I do not understand intension of point 12. If topic is unrelated to company, why company might want me to stop talking about it?
Regards, Paweł

Stein-Ivar said...

Double negations are tricky in any language, and "confine" is perhaps not a universally understood word. I'll try to make this clearer in the next version, perhaps "limit" or "restrict" will do the job?

Johanna said...

You are right that a policy around blogging might be needed, but if somebody is keeping a personal blog on their free time, I would think that most of the points above should be self evident. And if it is a personal blog = a hobby, it should really not be done at worktime, but on the employees free time, don't you think? I am most intrested to see blog possibilities - only visible for ABB, to express yourself, build up communication and networks intenally and the policy/development around this