A good policy should be about appropriate usage and not a total ban on social media altogether – as it's here, like it or not. All workplaces should have a social media policy in place which outlines behavioral expectations for your employees. It is difficult to discipline an employee for spending too much time on Facebook or for sharing company news through twitter if they didn't know your workplace rules.
The policy should be tailored to your unique business – does it fit with you business marketing/PR model? Do you want employees sharing business information on social media? Is it necessary to limit employees' use of social media or should you channel all company Facebook or twitter use through a designated person?
All of us get bombarded with emails - requests from friends, photos, jokes, links to videos on U-tube etc. so a well thought out policy gives guidelines how to manage this everyday occurrence – it's all about moderation.
It is questionable how much use of online social networking has compromised productivity, but it is well known that much of this activity is happening in the absence of any sort of policy.
Your policy should make it clear to employees what you expect with regards to social media use, both inside and outside the workplace, including compliance with confidentiality and proprietary information, etiquette and respect for the company, fellow employees and customers. There are horror stories aplenty about disgruntled employees bad-mouthing their employers online and employers are not always aware of it. What are your employees saying about you and your business?
Whether businesses use social media for business purposes or not, they cannot ignore the power of social media and how it may affect an employee/employer relationship if it is used inappropriately.
Depending on the individual company’s requirements, some will need a more comprehensive policy while smaller businesses with few employees may require reference to social media in their house rules. (You do have house rules, don't you?)
Paddy and Heather Battersby provide on-call, practical HR advice to businesses without their own HR department. Contact Paddy on phone 838 6338.
Battersby HR Consulting