At a recent lunch we discussed how social media is creating issues, as well as opportunities, in the workplace. Here are some do's and don'ts for all social media savvy employers.
1. Develop (ideally following discussion with staff) a social media policy to encourage appropriate use of social media. Use the policy to:
- prohibit employees from using social media in ways that could damage your organisation's reputation;
- remind employees that social media activity in the workplace is not necessarily private and that online conduct can amount to misconduct and, in some cases, gross misconduct; and
- help employees to protect themselves and understand the potential risks.
2. Make it clear that employees should not use social media to disclose or misuse confidential or proprietary information, making sure your employees understand what you consider to be confidential or proprietary.
3. Make it clear that you will not permit employees to use social media to bully or harass colleagues.
4. Impose clear express duties on employees who use social media for business purposes to promote your organisation's interests.
5. Provide training to employees on the appropriate use of social media, and monitor and enforce compliance.
6. Review employment contracts to ensure that termination and post-termination restrictions are relevant and up to date. Also consider contractual provisions that require employees to facilitate access after termination (i.e. disclosure of usernames and passwords).
7. Monitor social media sites, services and applications (and websites generally) for potentially damaging comments and consider the appropriate response (if any) to damaging statements or content.
1. Impose unnecessary or impractical restrictions on employee use of social media. Disproportionate restrictions can undermine morale and invite non-compliance, without any real benefit to the employer.
2. Use social media to run background checks on applicants for employment and candidates for promotion without first considering the associated legal risks.
3. Create a social media policy and then forget about it. It should be a living document that is not only enforced but constantly refreshed, renewed and made relevant for employees.