It is nearly impossible to tear employees away from their ever-growing portfolio of personal social media accounts, even while they are at work. Some companies allow access and even encourage their teams to promote company products and services on their profiles. However, employee posts can put the company at risk in myriad ways, so developing an effective social media policy is a must in today’s world. Human resources pros can use these strategies to create a comprehensive policy to help protect the company, its messaging and its brand.
Your Social Media Policies Will Be Unique
Social media policies are unique to every organization; however, your policy should be specific when addressing permissible and impermissible behavior on social media and should include:
- If, when and how employees may access social media at work.
- Whether or not employees can or should disclose their affiliation with the organization, and if they do disclose, you should provide them with a legal disclaimer indicating that their posts are their own and are in no reflect the views of the organization.
- The rules that apply to the way in which employees may speak about the organization, and the rules governing when they may not speak about the organization.
- Topics that should be avoided, even when opinions are their own. (Ex: politics, religion)
- Whether employees’ personal social media profiles may include coworkers.
- Whether or not they may use company logos and themes on personal social media accounts.
- Whether or not they are permitted to comment on customer posts to company social media accounts.
- Whether employees may use their company-issued email address to sign up for third-party websites.
Educate And Communicate
Once your policy is hashed out, it will be necessary to go over the entire policy with employees, line by line paying close attention to the types of speech that are protected and the types of speech that are not. Many employees will operate under the assumption that everything they say and do on social media is protected by the First Amendment or privacy laws. It is not. Educating them on their rights and yours can help avoid potential problems down the line.
“Social Media is mission critical to our business model, therefore we encourage you to explore the use of social media at CSS! This doesn’t apply to every company. If you’re the employer, consider creating a policy to help you to retain millennials. If you’re the future employee, stick to the policy of the company for long term success.” says Amanda Haugh, Corporate Trainer, CSS.
Remember, employers may not, according to the National Labor Relations Act, prohibit or interfere with employees discussing wages or working conditions on social media. However, employers can set policies prohibiting defamatory, abusive, offensive or otherwise inappropriate posts. They may also prohibit the posting of personal complaints.
Laws, rules and regulations vary from state to state, so it is critical that your policy remain in compliance, but it is also critical that employees are clear on what is allowable and what will not be tolerated when it comes to their social media interactions. The policy should be updated regularly, with employees signing and acknowledgment of receipt and understanding of changes any time the policy is modified.
If you are looking for talented professionals for your HR team who can help you keep your policies in step with changing times, contact the professional recruiters at Contemporary Staffing Solutions today. Our recruiters can help you develop strategies to build an efficient, effective team.