Borders employees are claiming that they are being pressured into signing a non-blogging contract that essentially puts a gag on any writing about new policies and procedures implemented by the distressed book chain. Here’s what one employee said.
Borders is now trying to get the employees to sign a non-blogging contract, and several employees have been fired or put on probation for writing and producing videos in response to the â€œmake booksâ€ controversy.
It’s unclear whether this is simply a repurposed version of the current non-disclosure statement from the employee handbook or if it is something new and specifically targeted at online and blog activity.
This blog, specifically the Borders Books Employees Are Angry! post, has been a forum for current and former Borders employees to vent. Their experiences provide powerful glimpses into a changing corporate culture and a company flailing amid economic turmoil.
I haven’t been able to obtain a copy of the non-blogging contract. Yet it seems clear that something has been communicated throughout the organization that blogging about new policies is going to get you in hot water. While a typical non-disclosure agreement makes sense, I wonder how a non-blogging policy would work.
If I have a Facebook page and my profile says I’m a Borders employee, have I violated that contract if my update says I’m having a bad day at work? Do comments on a blog (like this one) count? Has an employee transgressed if their personal blog contains a poor review of a ‘make book’?
Is Borders also seeking out those employees who think the new programs and policies are great? If you don’t want people blogging about things, then wouldn’t that apply to both the bad and the good?
Even the hint of a non-blogging contract seems antithetical to today’s business environment. In a time when more companies are embracing new methods of communication, Borders seems to be going in reverse. Instead of making their employees evangelists for their brand, they’re frightening them into being drones.
Imagine if Borders employees were encouraged to write about the great books just arriving. The hidden gems, the stuff they’ve just read. Tweets about upcoming readings. There are so many ways you could make this work.
There is but one prerequisite, investing and empowering your employees. Based on the experiences of those commenting on this blog, Borders has done the opposite. So, instead of hearing about the excitement around Margaret Atwood’s newest novel, we’re hearing about corporate censorship.
What’s your opinion on a non-blogging contract?