From company executives to employees to human resources personnel, the majority of people have a social media presence today. While these sites are an important way to stay up-to-date on current events, pop culture and more, they can also be dangerous for workers to use which means understanding social media do’s and don’t is so important.
People are allowed to utilize personal profiles, but when representing their employers, they must be careful what they post or share to their followers. An inflammatory status or video can land employees in hot water and reflect poorly on their organization. Here’s an inside look at some social media do’s and don'ts employees should be aware of:
HR teams should urge their employees to make social media profiles private instead of public.
Do: Create a social media policy
If workers aren’t familiar with what kinds of posts are detrimental to their employer, then it’s difficult to hold them accountable. It’s the responsibility of the company and their HR team to devise and deliver a set of social media procedures that employees can follow. Distributing these rules to workers can help businesses avoid expensive legal issues and ensure people are aware of the differences between personal and professional usage. According to the Association of Corporate Counsel, the policy should include:
- Social media objectives, guidelines, best practices and values.
- Rules on both appropriate and inappropriate behavior.
- The procedure the business will follow if and when guidelines are broken.
- Breakdown of appropriate language and content.
Walking workers through these standards assists HR leaders in managing employee’s social media accounts while reducing the chances of a serious public relations issues.
Don’t: Leave accounts public
It can be challenging to tell people how to act on social media. Even with the implementation of a policy, some workers may forget the rules or post questionable material anyway. To be safe in these cases, HR should instruct employees to make their accounts private instead of public, according to Forbes. This way, only those accepted by the user can follow his or her posts. This is still a dangerous situation, as screenshots are all the rage these days when statuses and shared information irk an audience. It’s critical for leaders to educate their workers on appropriate materials, but to also be clear about the repercussions that come with failing to obey company policies.
If HR teams catch wind of a questionable post from an employee, the best action is to talk to the worker one-on-one about why their profile may cause outside scrutiny and trouble for the business. Sometimes, it takes an example to showcase what is considered inappropriate.
“Disclaimers separate the employer from a worker’s posted opinions.”
Do: Recommend disclaimers
A lot of good can come from social media, and that’s something companies should remain cognizant of. People should be able to update their job title on their profiles and share their work accomplishments with their followers, according to Digital Distillers. If employees opt to share opinions on a network that is used for both personal and private reasons, however, HR should suggest the addition of a disclaimer, as the Society for Human Resource Management suggested. These statements simply let people know that the opinions expressed on a person’s page is not a reflection of their employer’s thoughts on the matter. This way, workers can share their ideas without including their company in the mix. Disclaimers can further reduce the risk of legal action being taken against the organization if statements are controversial.
Don’t: Ban access altogether
Many organizations today block social media sites from being accessed via company-provided computers. Even with those barricades in place, employees can still access their profiles via their personal mobiles devices, including smartphones and tablets. At the end of the day, an employer action doesn’t equal a complete ban. Instead of stopping people from visiting these sites completely, HR needs to provide workers with clear boundaries and show that the tools can be used positively in the workplace, Monster suggested. By demonstrating how social media can be used for good, company leadership will show the basis of their concern while emphasizing the beneficial information and connections that can result from appropriate use.
Social media has both pros and cons for companies and their workers. While businesses can use the networks to share their message, products and services, employee posts can be dangerous to their employers depending on the content. It’s critical for organizations and HR leaders to devise and distribute a social media policy that people can comprehend and follow to avoid serious legal trouble.
Today, online profiles are examined during a company’s search for valuable candidates to fill open positions. Depending on the materials contained within social media networks, hiring teams can decide whether or not the applicant will be a good fit. SBS Payroll helps organizations with this task by offering comprehensive background screening. Not only is this process efficiently completed, but it can improve worksite safety and deliver helpful reports HR leaders need to make an informed selection.