Social media is everywhere. In fact, if you’re wise to today’s marketing tactics, you’ve jumped on board with social media campaigns that are likely bringing more eyes to your business than hardcopy mailers ever could. In reality, social media is essential in this touch-of-the-finger environment. That said, as much as you’re posting online, your employees are also posting. Having a strong social media policy will help guide your employees in your expectations when it comes to social media.
While destructive messages about your company could ruin your reputation, employees have a right to speak their mind. Additionally, if employees are posting social media statuses when they’re on the clock, you’re paying for their socialization. There are plenty of reasons social media is great, but in the workplace, it’s seldom appropriate.
It all comes down to policy. What are you willing to tolerate, what recourse do you have, and what are the laws that govern an employee’s use of social media? Before you let your employees go rogue with their online statuses, consider these reasons that support the need for a social media policy:
Confidentiality is King
Companies with lax social media policies are more apt to have accidental mishaps occur where confidential information is concerned. Although policies can’t prevent every occurrence of inappropriate posting, sometimes it only takes awareness to prevent unfortunate circumstances.
In some cases, determined people will find a way to get their points across on social media. However, confidential information isn’t often leaked by those looking to cause trouble; an excited employee may boast about his or her success with a certain client or divulge information that’s still under wraps in an attempt to express excitement about his or her job.
While the latter offenses were meant to be harmless, they can deliver a lot of damage to your company. It’s best to put expectations on paper before miscommunications arise.
Systems Are Not Private
Generally, information posted on social networking sites should be considered public and employees should expect that even with the use of certain privacy settings, what the employee posts on social networking sites will be seen by others outside the intended group of viewers, including their employer. A social media policy should outline this as well as reinforcing that company policies still apply when using social media sites. Rules prohibiting the unlawful harassment of co-workers, for example, still apply to employees’ online activities. The Company may monitor employee social media communications for compliance with Company policies and employees should be made aware of this through the policy.
Productivity is Most Important
If you allow your employees to engage in social media on company time, you need to set stringent rules regarding the amount of time they can click away on their personal pages.
To prevent unnecessary inefficiencies in the workplace, make sure your employees understand what they’re being paid to do and why their time is valuable to the company.
Are you struggling to find ways to incorporate a social media policy into your corporate structure? We can help. Contact our team to learn more about putting a customized social media policy in place that works for your business, your management, and your employees.