Social Media in the Workplace

What to include in a Social Media Policy

Social media is a major communications channel in the 21st century, so it’s no surprise that the distinction between professional and personal use can be blurry.

The use of social media by staff during their employment can result in employers being held vicariously liable for the conduct of its staff on social media sites (even where the offending conduct was outside of the office and office hours) or having their business reputation injured by negative comments posted by staff on social media sites. However, strangely enough, statistics suggest that employers have been slow to formalise their position on social media use in relation to their staff.

A total ban on social media in the workplace is generally not practical or desirable given the business advantages that can be derived from its use and the prevalence of mobile devices in the workplace. Employers can still enjoy the advantages of social media while mitigating the associated risks, by adopting and implementing a well-drafted and well-communicated social media workplace policy. Writing a clear social media policy for staff is a good way to ensure they use these sites appropriately and limit their personal use during working hours.

A total ban on social media in the workplace is generally not practical or desirable. - Astrowave

What a Social Media Policy “Should” cover

A social media policy should outline the employer’s expectations and provide clear parameters regarding the use of social media, social media workplace behaviour, and the outcomes for breaches of the policy. Staff should then be monitored and managed in accordance with the policy.

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Here are some of the elements your social media policy should cover:

  1. Separate personal and professional use

Staff should separate their personal and professional social media presence. Social media posts and “likes” can remain online forever. However, it’s not just the corporate account that should be watched. Staff should assume that clients and future employers will also read information on their personal accounts.

  1. Who is authorised to post on the company’s behalf?

The policy should clearly detail who is authorised to use the company’s social media channels and respond on the company’s behalf. Staff should consult the appropriate person in the company before answering any media inquiries.  Staff should be reminded to be mindful of the company’s reputation when posting on its behalf.

  1. Use disclaimers

If Staff mention your business in the profile of their personal social media pages, they should also include a disclaimer saying their opinions and comments do not necessarily reflect the point of view of your company or its management.

  1. Ensure that company time is for company business

Provide clear boundaries around when staff can access their private social media accounts in the workplace. Staff should be encouraged to limit it in the same way they restrict their personal telephone calls or Internet use.

  1. Respect copyright

Staff sharing links online, for example, should be sure the source of the content being shared is reputable. They should also guard against plagiarism by properly crediting the sources of the material they use.

  1. Avoid revealing personal information

Staff should limit the amount of personal information they reveal online. Ask staff to get permission from other staff, clients or business partners before publishing names or pictures online.

Staff should assume that clients and future employers will read information on their personal accounts. - Astrowave

Get more help

Astrowave would love to boost your party prep so if you need more  information about;

  • Social Media Policies in your business
  • Introducing policies
  • Implementing a Staff Manual