Social Media is an ever growing aspect of our lives and therefore its use within any business is forever growing. It is inevitable that employees will use personal Social Media accounts and therefore the importance of implementing social media policies in the workplace not only helps to safeguard employers from damage to company reputation but it also serves to protect employees. With the permanent effect social media is having on this generation, it is important for companies to have these policies in place and visit them on a regular basis to ensure that employees know the consequences that could arise if social media was used out of context. CIPD reports that 29% of employers have actually had to discipline or dismiss and employee due to the misuse of social media in the last year.
ACAS states that Social Media Policies can be very advantageous; protecting an organisation against slander and liability as well as helping to guard a company’s intellectual property, such as logos, the brand, copyright and more. Such a policy is especially useful when employees have been known to post derogative comments online, about a colleague, a manager or the employer as a whole and it is advised that in this situation the employer acts swiftly but in compliance with their policy; it is easy to respond impulsively and therefore be in breach of your own policy.
The policy should be properly thought out and inform employees what your company deems as acceptable behaviour and what is deemed unacceptable, this may extend to and include the use of internet and company emails according to ACAS. The policy must be clear and precise and furthermore the policy should detail what an employee can and cannot say whilst using social media. Additionally, the new policy should fit in with regards to the businesses objectives and previous existing policies. Disciplinary rules must be decided upon which detail how action will be applied if the policy has been breached.
When the Social Media Policy has been compiled and reviewed, companies should consult employees ensuring that they are made fully aware of the new policy and are willing to comply. Guidelines must be communicated clearly and a full briefing provided to the employees, especially outlining acceptable usage during working hours and how to use Social Media for ways to benefit the company.
For more help and advice on how to implement a Social Media Policy in you company please contact HPC.