By now, you probably already have a social media policy in place, right? There is probably a section in your employee handbook, telling your employees not to use the Internet for personal use during working hours, and that sort of thing. But is that enough anymore, or do you need to do more? Should you say anything about employees ability to access Facebook at Work?
Everyone is aware of the massive impact that Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have had on communications. It can be a positive thing for market research and allowing people to see what new products and services you have on offer… but have you thought about what your employees are posting at all times, and the impact that this could have on your business? Things are a lot less private online than people assume they are so if someone posts something racist or derogatory in anyway – and it’s made public that they work for you – this could harm your business reputation.
So how do you go about telling people what to post on their own, personal accounts? That might seem like a gigantic task, one that will cause a lot of disrepute, but if you word it right, and get things checked over by a lawyer to check that it doesn’t violate the Human Rights Act 1998, then you will be fine.
Make sure that there can’t be any misinterpretation when it comes to any of your employee policies, particularly this one. If you don’t want people to post anything about your business online, then say so, or if you only want positive remarks to be made then make that clear too.
It’s also imperative to set out the disciplinary procedure for breaking any of these rules, to ensure that everyone knows where they stand.
While you may not want your employees to access Facebook at work you should recognise that many of them will want to do so in their personal life and this is where the line is sometimes blurred It isn’t unfair to state clearly in an employment contract that under no circumstances is confidential information to be released, but it is unfair to suggest that they can’t post anything online at all. Common sense is key.
It might be helpful to focus on what people can post, rather than what they can’t. For example, you may grant your staff access to Facebook at work but in state in the guidelines that Facebook posts can be made during working hours, if they are about the business. It might also be helpful to nudge them in the right direction of the privacy settings, reminding them to update this regularly.
The most important thing to get across to people is remembering that they are responsible for what they post at all times. Exercising good judgement at all times is important, especially when you consider that it is within an employer’s rights to monitor employee’s social media accounts, even when they aren’t at work – it might be a good idea to lay that out in the handbook. The Internet is a worldwide community, which includes everyone… by keeping your social media policy up to date, you can ensure that this community is only seeing your company and employees in the best light possible, so everybody wins!