OPERATIONS

Twitter tips in the workplace

BY CSA STAFF

Just because it’s trendy to tweet doesn’t mean it’s acceptable for the workplace.

As Facebook and Twitter have become a part of the country’s everyday vernacular, use of social networking sites at work has been on the rise. And it has created some complex ethical, legal and interpersonal challenges for both employers and employees.

Is it appropriate for managers to “friend” their staff? Can an employee’s personal posts be grounds for discipline in the office? Can a manager’s access to an employee’s Facebook page increase the risk for discrimination and invasion of privacy claims?

An August 2009 survey by the Society for Corporate Compliance and Ethics revealed that 24% of employers have had to discipline an employee for activities on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. According to attorney Shanti Atkins, president and CEO of ethics and compliance training specialist, a myriad of problems can arise from social networking in the workplace.

“Employees may forget they have ‘friended’ their managers and then post negative content about their job or their boss,” said Atkins. “And an employee may disclose information that calls into question credibility and capability on the job.”

What social networking does is blur the lines between personal and professional, as well as between manager and subordinate, which makes the relationship especially challenging, said Atkins.

“Then there are the issues that arise from the style of communication in the social networking world,” said Atkins. “It’s instantaneous, with no censor, no filter and not self-monitoring.  An indelible electronic footprint is left behind for the employee, the manager, the employer and potentially a jury.

Based on a recent jury verdict against the restaurant chain Houston’s, a friend request from a boss could be a potential violation of the Stored Communications Act, said Atkins. The Act prohibits unauthorized access to electronic communications stored at a third-party service provider, such as Facebook. “The gist of the case is that if the request comes from a direct supervisor, and the employee senses potential negative repercussions to saying ‘no,’ the supervisor’s access may be considered coercive and not consensual,” she said.

Atkins advises employers to not only have a policy that discourages or prohibits bosses from “friending” employees; the policy should also specifically state that any employee may reject any friend request without repercussion. “This helps to address concerns about retaliation and potential coercion.”

Finally, said Atkins, it’s essential for employers not to rely solely on written policies when it comes to managing technology in the workplace. “The rules and guidelines need to be brought to life with engaging and interactive training that is memorable, realistic and compelling,” she said. “Nobody reads policies. For an issue such as social networking, online training is ideal, because the training program can actually simulate the very issues you are trying to address.”

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OPERATIONS

The Retail Equation expands analytics team

BY CSA STAFF

Irvine, Calif. The Retail Equation, the industry leader in retail transaction optimization solutions, has expanded its analytics team with the addition of Bisser V. Roussanov, Ph.D., who joins the company as a senior statistician.

“As demand for The Retail Equation’s transaction optimization services increases, Bisser will play an important role in the growth of our analytics group — ultimately supporting our thriving customer base, product portfolio and the continued development of predicative models to prevent return fraud,” said David Speights, Ph.D., chief statistician for The Retail Equation. “In today’s marketplace where retailers are expected to ‘do more with less,’ his expertise will allow us to better serve retailers that can benefit from our industry-leading capabilities.”

Roussanov will also work closely with Speights and the specialized team at The Retail Equation to continue development of statistical models that maximize revenue and margins for retailers. In addition, his support will enhance the company’s ability to assist retailers’ increased need for speed of analysis, providing vital information for loss prevention decision-makers.

Prior to joining The Retail Equation, Roussanov was an analytic engineer focused on fraud detection with SAS, a business analytics software and services vendor. Before SAS, he worked with Washington Mutual Bank/J.P. Morgan Chase as a senior research analyst, manager of strategic analysis and statistician II. He also served as a senior statistician with HNC Software and worked at the University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Biostatistics.

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Wireless Zone announces new chief strategy officer

BY CSA STAFF

Middletown, Conn. Wireless Zone, the nation’s largest independent wireless retail, announced the appointment of Jim Dunham as chief strategy officer.

In this role, Dunham will be working directly with Kevin Sinclair, CEO of Wireless Zone, and will be responsible for the Information Systems, Warehouse Logistics, and Purchasing departments within the company.

Dunham has a vast knowledge of business and logistics. Previously, he was senior VP and GM of Catalyst Business Solutions, in California; senior VP logistics and subscriber services at Brightpoint North America; and president of American Wireless, a large nationwide Master Agent and Distributor in California.

Just recently, according to a Boston Globe article, the company was ranked one of the year’s fastest-growing New England-based franchises by the New England Franchise Association. Having added 60 stores in 2008, Wireless Zone is poised to develop 100 new locations in 2009.

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