Sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have dominated the social media space for over a decade now and businesses are using it as a tool to market their products and services. Some of the advantages for businesses using social media include:
Increased brand awareness
Directing traffic to your website
Easy access to your business information
Allows customers to write a review on the go
Run targeted ads and have real time results
Whilst there are benefits, it seems that these applications have had unanticipated implications for the workplace. People didn’t foresee the magnitude of its influence and the risks that come with it, and so whilst the public were ‘liking, tweeting, poking and connecting’, business owners were faced with the urgent need to put policies in place to mitigate these risks in the workplace.
We’ve all heard the cringe-worthy story of an employee who called in sick but failed to realise that the selfie of him/her at the beach could be viewed publicly. Not to mention the employee who wasn’t happy with their boss and proceeded to air their grievances in a Facebook post, or the restaurant worker who uploaded photos of doing unsavoury things to customer’s food on Instagram. With social media came what seasoned tweeters call ‘keyboard courage’ and the good old fashioned conversation was labelled as, well… old fashioned! If there was a problem, it was easier to post about it and your employees posts on social media instantly became a risk to your reputation.
By adopting a well written and communicated social media workplace policy, employers and employees can enjoy the advantages of social media while mitigating the associated risks. Be specific on your policy and review it every 12 months to keep it updated with the continual growth of social sites. As a business owner, it is imperative that employees are educated on expectations surrounding social media with clear guidelines and consequences should these be breached.
The policy should focus on 4 main areas that directly impact the employee and the employer.
Social media use which has the capacity to damage the employee’s professional reputation. For example: A school teacher who favours a certain student.
Social media use which has the capacity to damage the employer’s professional reputation. For example: Photo’s posted on Instagram of employee’s in company uniform being thrown out of a bar intoxicated.
Social media use which has the capacity to damage the employer’s ability to work with their colleagues. For example: publicly gossiping about one of your colleagues
Social media use which breaches another company policy. For example: code of conduct, sexual harassment, bullying policies.
If you need help with writing your social media policy, contact PayCom.