Social media is a great platform for communicating messages to businesses and clients; you can also deliver important messages to people that matter, it’s all about communication, building relationships and brand awareness. However, because of the power of social media, it is important that you implement policies that control the usage of social media for work purposes and this also relates to employee usage. Here, we look at Are social media policies necessary in the workplace?
You need a policy that clearly dictates what boundaries should not be crossed when talking about work-related issues and this includes fellow workers, managers, workplace logistics, clients and suppliers. Your policy needs to explain to employees what acceptable behaviour is across all social media platforms that may potentially play an integral part of your business. Any policy you devise should be clearly communicated to existing and new staff.
Explain the new workplace reality: Many, if not most, employees consider their private and work lives separate, but social media has effectively erased that distinction. No matter how “walled-off” an individual’s social accounts may seem to be ultimately someone, somewhere will tie that person to your organisation. Therefore they need to understand that this means anything they post on social media or elsewhere online may reflect on them and the company.
A good social media policy spells out what is and is not appropriate for employees to post about their company on social networks. Generally, the policy will state that employees shouldn’t write anything they wouldn’t want splashed across the public media. This section may include the consequences of posting unflattering information about the organisation. It will also remind employees that anything posted online – even posts marked as private – can, and will, be used against them and their employer.
Raise awareness of your organisation and what it does: The best social media policies have more “dos” than “don’ts. ” They have clear guidelines to help employees understand ways they can use social media to help achieve business goals. They also help employees reflect organisational values in their online behavior and explain the best kind of material to share on social media.
Outline what’s considered confidential or private information: Employees appreciate having clear guidelines about what the organisation considers public information about its business and its employees. This section will also describe the consequences for sharing company secrets on social media.
Discuss the proper way to engage with others online: It may seem like stating the obvious but this section reminds employees that they should be polite and agreeable. If they must disagree with someone they should agree to disagree with others on social media because disagreements can quickly blow up and go viral.
An up-to-date and active social media policy is as essential today as telephone and personal computer policies were in earlier times. Until people have a lot of experience in social media they are going to make mistakes unless they get good guidance – the kind of guidance social media policies provide.
We hope that you found this post on Social Media Policies – are they necessary in the workplace? useful. Davenport HR was set up with the intent of helping out small and medium-size companies to develop best practices in HR. If you need help with HR or are considering outsourcing your HR function, contact one of our experts today.