The two Domino's Pizza employees posted videos on the Internet showing themselves violating various health-code standards while preparing food for delivery. Since their video became a hit on YouTube, the employees have been charged with felonies for delivering prohibited foods.
A statement on the company’s corporate website apologizes for the unacceptable actions of their former employees and asks that customers continue their support, despite this embarrassment.
“The opportunities and freedom of the Internet is wonderful,” the statement reads. “But it also comes with the risk of anyone with a camera and an Internet link to cause a lot of damage, as in this case, where a couple of individuals suddenly overshadow the hard work performed by the 125,000 men and women working for Domino’s across the nation and in 60 countries around the world.” (Workforce Management)
Company President Patrick Doyle has also posted a video of his own in response to the “gross” video created by his former employees. Domino’s spokesman Tim McIntyre said the company is looking into what can be done to prevent anything like this from happening in the future, but says there’s only so much the Domino’s can do.
"You can be the safest driver, you know," McIntyre said. "But there's going to be that Friday night someone's drunk and comes from out of nowhere. You can do the best you can, but there's going to be the equivalent of that drunk driver that hits the innocent victim." (Advertising Age)
The food safety issues involved in this case can be kept under control with a combination of training, policy enforcement and complying with regular food safety inspections. But how can a company control what employees are saying about them online?
It’s impossible for a company to fully control what an employee is going to say or do on the Internet in regards to their employer. What companies can do is set standards and clear policies outlining responsible online behavior within the office and when an employee discusses the company on their own time.
Major companies including the BBC, Sun Microsystems and IBM have written social media guidelines for employees to help manage the risk that accompanies these online conversations. Each of these companies has a set of guidelines clearly posted on its website and serve as great examples when developing your own social media policies.
- BBC use of social networking and other third party websites (.pdf)
- Sun Guidelines on Public Disclosure
- IBM Social Computing Guidelines
Policies will differ from company to company, but it’s important to have a clear set of standards that everyone in the organization can follow. Remember to run your social media policy through the legal department before distributing anything to employees. Finish the process with employee training that explains the company’s policy and how to act responsibly when talking about their employer online.
Like Domino’s spokesman said, “the opportunities and freedom of the Internet is wonderful,” but some employees may need help understanding the responsibility that comes along with talking about their employer online.
Do you think having a social media policy could have helped Domino's in the company's current situation? Does your organization train employees on responsible Internet use? Leave a comment and let us know.