Social media has become an everyday part of our lives; we find ourselves constantly checking on the latest update, answering the pings that make our phones buzz and our hearts race just a little bit faster: What happened? Who posted? Unfortunately, those distractions filter too often into the workplace, taking people away from work and potentially posting comments and links that could violate confidentiality policies and be considered libelous. Yet few companies have a defined social media policy, leaving a huge gray area. So how do you find a medium between allowing for social media versus banning it outright?
- Know what activity is protected. You cannot, for instance, ban employees from discussing wages or working conditions on line as per the National Labor Relations Act.
- Make your policy specific. Outline your policy in clear, unambiguous language of what’s acceptable and what’s not, avoiding violation of employee rights as much as possible.
- Comply with local, state, and federal laws. This goes for both employees and employers — the latter has to know what each state allows for social media posts within the workplace.
- No tolerance for any kind of bullying/harassment/discrimination. Too many people use social media as their platform to rant and spout off inappropriate remarks. Let employees know it will not be tolerated.
- Make clear what’s not Any personal complaints or attacks, particularly if they’re defamatory, abusive, inappropriate, or demeaning are not protected.
- Require disclaimers. It’s perfectly within your scope to have employees include disclaimers stating their opinions are their own and not representative of the company when referencing it.
- Inform and implement. Employees should know the details of your policy — make it easily available to them. Then the company can and should monitor and enforce it more easily.
Don’t forget to look at how other companies have successfully enacted a social media policy: Go to socialmediagovernance.com to see how others have made it work. For advice on any of your work policies with regard to staffing, visit PrideStaff.