Organisations without clearly defined mobile phone usage policies and monitoring systems leave themselves open to financial, reputation, legal and security risks, a Stratatel leadership paper has found.
According to Corporate Governance: Inappropriate Use of Mobile Devices, most organisations acknowledge that on occasion employees use their phones for non-business purposes, but many are unaware of the extent this actually occurs.
Stratatel also found a significant lack of awareness around whether employee’s mobile phone usage is what the company would deem unacceptable or inappropriate.
CEO Matt Perry said employers should be aware of an example from the Northern Territory, where the state government’s claim against an employee for an excessive phone bill was unsuccessful on the basis that the employer had not made it clear to the employee what degree of personal use was unacceptable.
According to Perry, the financial cost of inappropriate use of a mobile phone is just one risk – “organisations also need to consider the risk of an unlawful discrimination claim, a sexual harassment claim, and the misuse of commercially sensitive information.”
To minimise risk, it is recommended that organisations have a policy clearly identifying conduct that is unacceptable and inappropriate. It should include examples and definitions of terms and describe what action will be taken if the phone is misused.
For the policy to be genuinely effective the employer also needs to be able to easily monitor employee mobile phone use.
“Without detailed monitoring of mobile phone behaviour, organisations cannot address breaches of policy and prevent repeat offences. It is a vital element in the modern workplace and employers would do well to specifically address this issue in their organisations,” Perry added.
The complete thought leadership paper can be accessed via www.stratatel.com.au/TEM