This article is the second of a three part blog series focusing on social media and human resources that will cover the subtopics of employee conduct, social media policies, and recruiting.
Dresser & Associates recently hosted a webinar with guest speaker Alyssa Morris from Constangy, Brooks & Smith, an employment and labor law firm. Presenting on the topic of “Off-Duty Conduct and Social Media”, Alyssa shared her knowledge and advice on how to prepare for the inevitable encounter with social media in the workplace.
Whether you’ve already encountered a few bumps in the road regarding social media in the workplace, or are looking to become proactive with your organization’s social media strategy, it is strongly encouraged that you consider a Social Media Policy.
Like any other policy instituted by a company, a Social Media Policy is meant to protect the company and its employees. With more social media platforms and users being added every day, it is important to stay on top of risks and potential threats to your organization.
According to Employment and Labor Law Attorney Alyssa Morris, the top 5 social media mistakes that companies make are:
- The company does not have a Social Media Policy (79% of companies)
- The company’s Social Media Policy is unenforceable
- The employees don’t understand the Social Media Policy
- The company is engaging in the online conversation
How can an organization take steps to correct these mistakes? First, a Social Media Policy should be drafted with the organization’s legal counsel, ensuring employee rights are protected. Secondly, the policy needs to be understood by all employees and consistently enforced.
When drafting your Social Media Policy, it is crucial to clearly state the goals and purposes of the document. For example, it’s goal may be to minimize workplace disruption during operational hours and it’s purpose is to prevent slanderous, unprofessional, or unlawful content. An organization must also be careful to abide by Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, assuring that employee rights are protected when concerning topics such as wage discussions or employee treatment.
In the age of rapidly increasing technology and social freedom, it is vital for a company to instate a Social Media Policy to protect it’s trade secrets and employees. In conclusion, Alyssa Morris suggests that these key components should be considered in any social media policy:
- Impress upon employees the importance of not attributing or implying that their personal opinions are endorsed or supported by the Company.
- Emphasize good judgment and responsibility.
- Use common sense.
- Avoid arguments and disputes.
- Require employees to refrain from malicious disparagement
- Require compliance with all laws.
- Require compliance with rules of applicable sites.
- Always be consistent when disciplining employees who violate your policy.
If you would like to view a current sample of a Social Media Policy, please contact email@example.com.
The next blog in this series will focus on using social media for recruitment and hiring.