According to the 2013 Professionalism in the Workplace Study, HR professionals have reported increases in IT abuses over the last five years. These abuses include excessive tweeting and use of Facebook. More and more organizations are grappling with how to manage employees who are spending increasingly more time and sharing, commenting and liking every aspect of their life on social media. As Anthonia Akitunde explains in this post for Open Forum, organizations such as Burger King, Taco Bell and Domino’s Pizza are finding out firsthand that employee’s social media sharing can be harmful to the company’s brand.
When creating a social media policy organizations have to ensure that they protect the business but also not infringe on employees’ rights. Akitunde provides a list of 8 elements that will ensure your organization’s social media policy achieves this balance. Some elements the author notes that make for an effective policy include the following:
- It offers a safe place for employees to air their grievances before going online. Akitunde notes an article from The New York Times that reports that according to the National Labor Relations Board many companies have unlawful social media policies. One such item may be around employees’ discussion of their workplace. The National Labor Relations Act allows all employees to discuss their working conditions—even online or via social media. So creating a place offline where employees can go to air their grievances allow organizations to address employees’ concerns before they are shared with the public.
- An effective policy also designates a spokesperson who is responsible for addressing all questions about the company online. Employees should know who this person is so that they may refer all questions to them rather than trying to answer questions themselves.
- The policy should also address the proper way employees should engage with others online. The author notes that organizations should use real-life examples to outline to employees the benefits and pitfalls of engaging with an online audience.
Although, just having a social media policy won’t stop all negative and harmful behavior, it will go a long way in ensuring all employees are aware of the rules when it comes to participating in social media.