The use of social media for business purposes is on the increase. Ignoring or banning its use in the workplace is probably not a realistic solution but if you are going to embrace social media, it is important to ensure it is regulated.
Implementing a social media policy will allow you to set guidelines on the acceptable use of social media and will help to protect you against legal liability and reputation damage.
Here are the key points to remember when writing your social media policy...
A new policy
Your social media policy should stand alone and not as part of the IT usage policies or bullying or disciplinary policies. However, other relevant policies should cross refer to it.
Social media is a developing area and you should regularly review and update the policy in line with any new changes. Make it clear what is and is not covered.
Consider and cover the following areas...
- Employee use of company IT resources
- Employee use of company or 3rd party intellectual property and confidential and privileged information
- Protection of 3rd party confidentiality and privacy
- Prohibition of harassment or bullying of other employees
- Prohibition on discrimination of any sorts
- Prohibition on negative comments about the company, its employees, its business contacts or its competitors
- Make it clear that breach of the policy is a disciplinary matter which in serious cases may lead to dismissal
Access during working hours
Decide whether access to social media sites is allowed during working hours. If it is, then explain the purpose of allowing access and your tolerance towards personal use.
Remind employees that social media activity in the workplace is not necessarily private and that it may be a disciplinary offence for actions and conduct that breaches your employment policies in this area.
Specify appropriate privacy settings that need to be applied to certain types of account e.g. Twitter, Facebook.
Address whether employees’ Twitter, Facebook and other profiles are permitted to identify them as employees of your business.
Monitoring online activity
Explain your approach to company monitoring with regard to social media. Explain how and for what purpose monitoring will be carried out.
And most importantly...
Explain that employees should raise work related complaints or concerns through appropriate channels and not on social media sites. Employees should be encouraged to discuss matters of concern informally with their manager or, where appropriate, through your grievance procedure.
Let us help define a social media policy that reflect your business philosophy. Contact the Hallidays HR team on 0161 476 8278.