Risks and Rewards

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Social media can be a massive asset to business.

Not just in the obvious ways for marketing your brand or for connecting with your customers, but in unexpected ways; in how it creates a sense of collegiate identity for your staff even a “personality” for your business.

 

Under control?

But nothing is free or without risk. Social media means that publishing a document or making a post on a site is not the end of the conversation, as it would be with more traditional forms of media. Instead it is the beginning of the conversation and what’s really worrying its not in your control. At all. Also it is everywhere. For businesses to control what happened on a PC’s was easy. But social media is everywhere, on all sorts of devices.

10 years ago you might have sat in a meeting that was tedious, but your correspondence afterwards would be professional and action orientated. Now we can know the location, have an update in the meeting or even a dreaded selfie. LOL! innocentface#

Drafting your policy

So when your considering drafting a policy to protect your business here are some key considerations.

Do:

  • Your policy should encourage appropriate use of social media.
  • It should ensure that individuals understand they are responsible for what they publish on social media
  • Prohibit employees from using social media in ways that may damage the company.
  • Provide training on the appropriate use of social media and advise them that you will monitor for compliance.

drunk selfieDo not:

  • Allow employees to disclose or misuse confidential or company information.
  • Permit employees to use social media to harass colleagues.
  • Impose unnecessary restrictions on employee use of social media.

Narrative of a Social Media Policy

Communicate clearly on the company expectations for employee use of social media.

Detail in either a stand-alone social media policy or through a section in your employee handbook. Use the statement to remind employees that social media activity is not necessarily private and that the employer can discipline employees or conduct that breaches in the social media arena, just as in other arenas.

Also that online conduct that is harmful to the company can amount to misconduct or even gross misconduct.

The policy statement should consider the following areas:

  • Use of company IT resources;
  • Disclosure of company intellectual property or confidential information;
  • Protection of third-party intellectual property;
  • Protection from harassment, discrimination or bullying of other employees;
  • Negative comments about the company, its employees, business contacts or competitors.

Management considerations for effective implementation

  1. Train employees. HR or line management should detail there is employee monitoring and enforcement of the various company policies, restrictions, guidelines and contract provisions relating to social media. All action taken by the company is done in compliance with employees’ privacy rights.
  2. Avoid imposing unnecessary restrictions. Disproportionate restrictions can undermine employee morale and invite non-compliance, without real benefit to the company in terms of protecting its property, reputation or employees.

 

Richard HughesThis straight forward, but important guidance was kindly provided by Richard Hughes.  His company, Click HR Limited advises, coaches and provides training through professional pragmatic HR advice.  You can contact him to discuss your social media policy challenges by email or by calling 01604 289650.

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The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.

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