Maureen Fitzgerald

Maureen Fitzgerald on how United Technologies built a social media policy and employee education program

In 2013, social media sites were blocked from United Technologies' employee computers at work.

“The engineers building the next generation of helicopters for the President of the United States should be able to access YouTube to reference something,” says Maureen Fitzgerald, United Technologies' Senior Manager of Social Media.

Maureen Fitzgerald

On top of that, an audit revealed that the company had a footprint of over 40 social channels that had popped up globally without a unified policy or governance. In most cases, they had no idea who had started the social media presence or who was running it.

So to make the transition into making social accessible for all of United Technologies employees and build a policy, Maureen's team started with benchmarking. They looked at how companies in their industry, consumer companies, and BtoBs were using social. Then, they compared it to what UTC was already doing.

Maureen put together an internal social media conference to call attention to the issue.

“And I have to say, I kind of got the idea from here,” Maureen says in her presentation at's Member Meeting.

For one day, she brought together a panel of senior guest speakers including UTC's Senior VP of Human Resources, General Counsel, and CIO. They answered questions in a frank discussion with about 100 employees from HR, IT, legal, communications, and marketing.

UTC internal conference

“We decided that we're already out there, and we're doing great work. How do we break down this wall, how does the company become comfortable with social media, and how do we get our employees involved and teach them the rules of the road?”

Now what? Build off of that momentum.

For the next six months, Maureen's team combed through social media policies shared with them from other members of and picked out the pieces that worked for them. That helped them develop a presentation for their C-Suite.

Maureen Fitzgerald

“We were able to show there was a conversation already happening without us, how social could benefit our employees, and how our employees could grow their networks through advocacy or being on LinkedIn,” Maureen explains. “Then we got approval, and the floodgates were open.”

Next, they developed a social media policy council and a digital media council.

The social media policy council meets once a month and includes the people who helped write the policy: HR, legal, compliance, and IT. In the digital media council, the people managing social for each division of the company get together to share best practices and stay up-to-date.

“It's great because you get to hear all of the voices. Everyone has a seat at the table.”

But to roll out social access to employees, they knew they needed more than just a policy.

So they created a PDF with six basic rules for using social media and bundled it together with the internal announcement and social media training:

  1. Be ethical
  2. Be smart
  3. Be respectful
  4. Be responsible
  5. Be yourself
  6. Be an advocate

The training included a 45-minute online course on social networking risks, delving into what you can and cannot share and how to avoid a crisis. Once they finished the course and read the guidelines, employees were required to accept ethics and privacy policy terms. After accepting accountability, employees land on a SharePoint site with a few more optional training videos on careful communication and basic do's and don'ts specific to UTC employees.

We’re aggressive in our goal to get as many employees who want social media to get there by the end of the year.

Now, over 20,000 employees have taken the course, and 19,000 are active in social media.

Maureen says their next goal is translating the policy and guidelines for their employees around the globe. She says that might take going back to the beginning and starting over with auditing and benchmarking global channels, but she says it's a journey they're excited to take.

“We're aggressive in our goal to get as many employees who want social media to get there by the end of the year.”

You can find Maureen on Twitter or watch her full presentation from our Member Meeting in New York here. Maureen's been a member of since 2014.