Maximize Employee Participation in the Instant Messaging Survey


Maximize Employee Participation in the Instant Messaging Survey

To maximize employee participation in the internal survey and ensure honest responses, you must guarantee anonymity. Assure employees that management will make no attempt to identify respondents or penalize employees who, prior to the development and implementation of formal IM rules and policies, may have downloaded and used personal IM tools without authorization.

What follows is a sample memo informing employees of management’s plan to develop comprehensive IM rules and policies and encouraging staff to participate in the organization’s internal audit.

Along with explaining why the organization is developing IM rules and policies, the memo assures employees that their anonymity will be protected, and it clearly spells out the benefits to be gained by completing the questionnaire.

Because the memo comes from a senior executive, employees are alerted to the fact that the IM survey and the rules and policies that will result from it, are priorities for the organization.

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Sample Instant Messaging Survey Memo

Date: November 3, 2003 To: All Employees From: Truman Katz, Legal Director and Chief Compliance Officer Subject: Instant Messaging Survey

Overview: Instant Messaging Use by Employees

The legal/compliance department is aware that some employees have downloaded personal IM tools onto their company-provided desktop and laptop computers, and are using public IM networks to transmit business and personal messages without management’s authorization.

The unauthorized use of instant messaging poses serious, potentially costly risks to our organization and employees. For the organization, IM risks include workplace lawsuits, regulatory fines, wasted productivity, security breaches, and mismanagement of electronic business records. For individual employees, the risks associated with accidental or intentional IM misuse or abuse range from disciplinary action to termination.

Introducing New Instant Messaging Rules, Policies, and Procedures

To help reduce the likelihood of costly IM disasters, the organization is developing comprehensive IM rules, policies, and procedures. Our formal IM policy program, complete with employee education, will be introduced shortly. Our written IM policy will clearly address how, when, by whom, and under what circumstances IM may be used by employees.

Help Us Create a Successful Instant Messaging Environment

As a first step toward effective IM policy development, we are asking all employees (from entry-level staff to senior executives) to complete the following usage survey.

Survey findings will help us determine the specific IM-related risks our employees and the organization face and will guide us in the development of IM rules, policies, and procedures that are right for our organization and employees.

Absolute Confidentiality Is Guaranteed

To maximize participation and success, survey participants will not be asked to reveal their names or departments, or to identify themselves in any way.

Please answer all questions truthfully; an honest answer will not land you in hot water. Our only goal is to make an accurate determination of current IM use. You will not be penalized for any accidental or intentional IM misuse that may have occurred in the past. Our sole concern is developing IM rules, policies, and procedures that will help protect you and the organization from future risks.

Please Respond Within Ten Days

Please drop your completed questionnaire in the IM Survey collection box in the first floor lobby. November 13 is the deadline for completion.

If you have concerns about the survey or our proposed IM rules and policy, please call me at extension 1234. I am happy to answer any questions you may have.

This IM survey and the comprehensive IM rules, policies, and procedures that will result from it are important to the continued success of our organization. Thank you for helping to make our instant messaging policy program a success.

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Sample Instant Messaging Usage Questionnaire for Employees [2]
  1. Are you currently using IM at the office? Yes No

  2. If the answer to question 1 is ‘‘yes,’’ how many IM software products (or clients) have you downloaded onto your office computer and company-provided laptop or handheld computer?

  3. Which of the following IM products are you using for business purposes (check all that apply):

    AOL ____Yahoo! ___MSN___

    Other (please write the name[s] of any other IM software you are using at work)

  4. Do you know the difference between an electronic business record (instant message or e-mail) and an insignificant message that is not a business record? Yes No

  5. Instant messages must be retained in accordance with the organization’s retention and deletion strategy.

    True ___False___ Don’t Know___

  6. Do you perform a job function that is governed by government or industry regulations?

    Yes ___No ___Don’t Know ___

  7. In some cases, instant messages must be retained in accordance with the retention and deletion guidelines of government or industry regulators.

    True ___False___ Don’t Know___

  8. Keeping copies (electronic, paper, or other format) of all IM and e-mail transmissions (business and personal) forever is a good idea, since you may need them one day for business or legal purposes.

    True ___False___ Don’t Know___

  9. How do you use IM at the office?

    For business purposes. Yes___ No ___

    For personal use. Yes___ No ___

    For internal communication with other employees. Yes___ No ___

    For external communication with clients. Yes___ No ___

    For external communication with friends and family. Yes___ No ___

    For external communication with other third parties. Yes___ No ___

  10. Have you ever sent or received an instant message at the office that contained sexual or adult-oriented content? Yes___ No ___

  11. Have you ever sent or received instant messages at the office that contained jokes, gossip, rumors, disparaging comments, or defamatory remarks? Yes___ No ___

  12. Have you ever sent or received an instant message that violated the organization’s sexual or racial harassment or discrimination policies? Yes ___No ___Don’t Know ___

  13. How do you view the organization’s current e-mail policy? Circle the answer that most accurately reflects your opinion.

    1. I take the organization’s e-mail policy seriously. Employees who violate the e-mail policy are likely to be disciplined or fired.

    2. The organization’s e-mail policy is a joke. It is never (or rarely) enforced. Management consistently ignores e-mail policy violations.

    3. What e-mail policy?

  14. Have you ever used IM at work in an inappropriate or abusive manner? Yes ___No ___Don’t Know ___

  15. If you answered ‘‘yes’’ to question 14, please describe your inappropriate or abusive use of IM. _______________

  16. Have you ever participated in adults-only online chat during working hours? Yes___ No ___

  17. On a given workday, how much time do you spend instant messaging?

  18. less than 1 hour ___1–2 hours___ 2–4 hours ___

  19. 4–6 hours ___6–8 hours___ 8 hours or more ___

  20. On average, how many instant messages do you send from the office on any given day?

    0 ___1–9___ 10–24 ___25–49 ___

    50–100 ___more than 100 ___

  21. On average, how many instant messages do you receive at work on any given day?

    0 ___1–9___ 10–24 ___25–49 ___

    50–100 ___more than 100 ___

  22. Do you consider IM to be:

    A boost to your productivity Yes___ No ___

    A detriment to your productivity Yes___ No ___

  23. If the organization were sued, your old instant messages could be subpoenaed and admitted into evidence.

    True ___False ___Don’t Know ___

  24. The organization has the right to monitor and read employee instant messaging.

    True ___False ___Don’t Know ___

  25. What features and capabilities do you like most about IM? (Be specific. Use the back of this sheet if necessary.) ___________

  26. What features and capabilities do you like least about IM? (Be specific. Use the back of this sheet if necessary.) ___________

  27. How would you like to see the organization handle IM in the future? (Circle all that apply.)

    1. Ban IM altogether.

    2. Allow employees to download and use one free, authorized consumer-grade IM tool (AOL Instant Messenger, for example) to chat internally and externally.

    3. Allow employees to download and use as many free consumer-grade IM tools as they wish to communicate internally and externally.

    4. Allow IM use, but restrict employees to one standard company-provided IM system that allows internal use only. Free downloads would be banned.

    5. Ban all personal IM use, regardless of the IM tool used.

    6. Allow employees to use IM to communicate with family and friends on a limited, authorized basis.

  28. Which of the following best describes the reaction you would have if management banned the use of IM at work? Circle all that apply.

    1. If IM were banned, I would be upset, but would comply with the policy.

    2. A ban on IM wouldn’t stop me. I would continue to download and use free IM products in spite of the policy.

    3. If IM were banned, I would not be able to perform my job as effectively as I now do.

    4. If IM were banned, I would be so upset that I would probably look for a new job at a company that values IM as a business tool.

    5. I don’t care if IM is banned. Its absence or presence makes no difference to me.

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[2]Adapted from Nancy Flynn and Randolph Kahn, Esq., E-Mail Rules, New York, AMACOM, 2003.