As more and more executives in the c-suite embrace social media, reputational risks are likely to increase if proper contracts and policies are not in place, says LEON AYO, CEO of executive search firm Odgers Berndtson South Africa.
As more and more executives in the c-suite embrace social media, reputational risks are likely to increase if proper contracts and policies are not in place.
Executives have cited reputation as one of their top risk factors according to numerous reports. Fake news, fake social media accounts and cyber security are increasing the reputational risk in the digital world.
“As a measure of defence, many businesses will have social media contracts and policies in place for employees, but surprisingly, not at the c-suite or board levels,” says Leon Ayo, CEO of executive search firm Odgers Berndtson Sub-Saharan Africa. “It is common practice for large companies to have social media contracts in place for executives throughout the UK, Europe and USA, but this is not yet the case in South Africa.”
The purpose of the contract is not to sensor or inhibit freedom of speech but rather to ensure the presence of executives on social networks does not compromise the company or business image.
Recently, Helen Zille’s tweets about colonialism received serious backlash which discredited not only the Democratic Alliance as a political party but also brought into question its current leadership. In addition, reputational and brand risks from executives posting inappropriate material can evolve to business or revenue risks, where there is a loss of regard from stakeholders.
On the other hand, social media has changed the communications dynamics between executives, employees and customers and the benefit is making people feel more connected. A more connected world contributes to the business objectives of the organisation. Locally, Michael Jordaan, former CEO of FNB was the Twitter trailblazer for the c-suite and was coined by IT media as the coolest CEO in the country
Social media contracts are certainly the practical measures for countering reputational risk in the digital world but leaders must also ensure their authenticity, both in the online world as well as the offline world. Whatever a leader is prepared to say online, they must be prepared to share in a face-to-face environment too. Barack Obama is a common reference for excellence in authentic leadership across various social media platforms because whatever he posts is reflective and authentic to what is happening offline too.
High risk factors such as fake news or fake social media accounts cannot be countered using social media contracts which is why authenticity plays such a necessary and important role. “Should a fake news story about an executive be published, for example, and is damaging to that reputation, a digital presence where the content and messaging is both authentic and consistent would be able to counter this risk. The same applies for a fake social media account. An executive must use the digital world to gain trust with their stakeholders and proper trust comes from authenticity just as they would do in the offline world,” explains Ayo.
Not only are fake news sites or social media accounts a possibility but so too are the chances of executives’ social media accounts being hacked, especially off the back of ransomware attacks such as the recent WannaCry.
“This is just an example of how hackers are increasing reputational risks and the next step could see executives’ accounts being hacked. Imagine comments made by a CEO on social media pertaining to price sensitive information and the impact it would have on share prices?” points out Ayo. “Requirements for secure passwords as outlined in a social media contract combined with leadership authenticity would be able to counter such a risk.”
Ultimately, executives cannot shy away from social media but also need to be aware of the pros and cons when communicating in a public forum. “People are not always going to like what you say or comment on and the c-suite may come under fire for this. At the same time, a well thought out social media strategy, contract and principles of authenticity will go a long way to counter this risk,” concludes Ayo.
Now download a bank account
Absa has introduced an end-to-end account opening for new customers, through the Absa Banking App, which can be downloaded from the Android and Apple app stores. This follows the launch of the world first ChatBanking on WhatsApp service.
This “download your account” feature enables new customers to Absa, to open a Cheque account, order their card and start transacting on the Absa Banking App, all within minutes, from anywhere and at any time, by downloading it from the App stores.
“Overall, this new capability is not only expected to enhance the customer’s digital experience, but we expect to leverage this in our branches, bringing digital experiences to the branch environment and making it easier for our customers to join and bank with us regardless of where they may be,” says Aupa Monyatsi, Managing Executive for Virtual Channels at Absa Retail & Business Banking.
“With this innovation comes the need to ensure that the security of our customers is at the heart of our digital experience, this is why the digital onboarding experience for this feature includes a high-quality facial matching check with the Department of Home Affairs to verify the customer’s identity, ensuring that we have the most up to date information of our clients. Security is supremely important for us.”
The new version of the Absa Banking App is now available in the Apple and Android App stores, and anyone with a South African ID can become an Absa customer, by following these simple steps:
- Download the Absa App
- Choose the account you would like to open
- Tell us who you are
- To keep you safe, we will verify your cell phone number
- Take a selfie, and we will do facial matching with the Department of Home Affairs to confirm you are who you say you are
- Tell us where you live
- Let us know what you do for a living and your income
- Click Apply.
How we use phones to avoid human contact
A recent study by Kaspersky Lab has found that 75% of people pick up their connected device to avoid conversing with another human being.
Connected devices are becoming essential to keeping people in contact with each other, but for many they are also a much-needed comfort blanket in a variety of social situations when they do not want to interact with others. A recent survey from Kaspersky Lab has confirmed this trend in behaviour after three-quarters of people (75%) admitted they use a device to pretend to be busy when they don’t want to talk to someone else, showing the importance of keeping connected devices protected under all circumstances.
Imagine you’ve arrived at a bar and you’re waiting for your date. The bar is busy, and people are chatting all around you. What do you do now? Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know? Grab your phone from your pocket or handbag until your date arrives to keep yourself busy? Why talk to humans or even make eye-contact with someone else when you can stare at your connected device instead?
The truth is, our use of devices is making it much easier to avoid small talk or even be polite to those around us, and new Kaspersky Lab research has found that 72% of people use one when they do not know what to do in a social situation. They are also the ‘go-to’ distraction for people even when they aren’t trying to look busy or avoid someone’s eye. 46% of people admit to using a device just to kill time every day and 44% use it as a daily distraction.
In addition to just being a distraction, devices are also a lifeline to those who would rather not talk directly to another person in day-to-day situations, to complete essential tasks. In fact, nearly a third (31%) of people would prefer to carry out tasks such as ordering a taxi or finding directions to where they need to go via a website and an app, because they find it an easier experience than speaking with another person.
Whether they are helping us avoid direct contact or filling a void in our daily lives, our constant reliance on devices has become a cause for panic when they become unusable. A third (34%) of people worry that they will not be able to entertain themselves if they cannot access a connected device. 12% are even concerned that they won’t be able to pretend to be busy if their device is out of action.
Dmitry Aleshin, VP for Product Marketing, Kaspersky Lab said, “The reliance on connected devices is impacting us in more ways than we could have ever expected. There is no doubt that being connected gives us the freedom to make modern life easier, but devices are also vital to help people get through different and difficult social situations. No matter what your ‘connection crutch’ is, it is essential to make sure your device is online and available when you need it most.”
To ensure your device lifeline is always there and in top health – no matter what the reason or situation – Kaspersky Security Cloud keeps your connection safe and secure:
· I want to use my device while waiting for a friend – is it secure to access the bar’s Wi-Fi?
With Kaspersky Security Cloud, devices are protected against network threats, even if the user needs to use insecure public Wi-Fi hotspots. This is done through transferring data via an encrypted channel to ensure personal data safety, so users’ devices are protected on any connection.
· Oh no! I’m bored but my phone’s battery is getting low – what am I going to do?
Users can track their battery level thanks to a countdown of how many minutes are left until their device shuts down in the Kaspersky Security Cloud interface. There is also a wide-range of portable power supplies available to keep device batteries charged while on-the-go.
· I’ve lost my phone! How will I keep myself entertained now?
Should the unthinkable happen and you lose or have your phone stolen, Kaspersky Security Cloud can track and protect your device from data breaches, for complete peace of mind. Remote lock and locate features ensure your device remains secure until you are reunited.