Industry insights for job seekers and employers.

Social Media Policy in the Office

Social media has infiltrated work and personal lives. Social media’s use has escalated so quickly that no strict legal rules or etiquette regarding its use have been established. Many companies incorporate social media to encourage cross-functional communication and a team dynamic. Other companies actively try to prevent employees from accessing social media sites during work hours.

Such ambiguity is confusing, and every company is advised to develop a social media policy. The implications of social media misuse are serious, and the main risk is litigation. The National Law Journal explains that a company can be sued if an employee is fired because of information they reveal on a social media site. Similarly, a supervisor that friends certain employees can be accused of preferential treatment or, quite feasibly, sexual harassment.

3 Tips for Establishing a Social Media Policy in the Workplace

  • Discuss appropriate social media use and the implications of improper use. Distinguish between social media use at home and social media use at work. Ensure that written rules are easily accessible to employees. Include managers in the social media discussion so that they are aware of the dangers concerning interaction with subordinates.
  • Employees should not be asked to promote or discuss business-related topics on personal sites. The reputation of the employer is at risk and can be irreparably damaged. If employees discuss work-related projects, they should disclose their relationship with the company. They should also state that the views do not reflect those of the employer.
  • Your company social media platforms should carry a note stating that the company complies with equal employment- pportunity laws. Additionally, technology and social media are in a state of constant change. A company’s policy should apply to any social media platforms that will be developed in the future.

Karen Higginbottom of Forbes describes a phenomenon described as “employee activism.” This describes a situation where an employee acts as an online advocate for their employer. A survey reports that 33 percent of employees may act this way. As an employer, protect yourself from the social media activities of your employees.

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