Why Employers need to implement a Social Media Policy
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What is a Social Media Policy?
It’s a document outlining your company’s guidelines for the use of Social Media. It includes:
- whether an employee can use Social Media during work hours, and if so, on what terms;
- who owns the social media account? Particularly if it is actively used for work purposes such as marketing, or has clients of the employer as followers;
- how social media can and can’t be used. For example, posts/comments should uphold the reputation of the business. Derogatory comments (especially concerning the employer, it’s colleagues, other employees, products or services), harassment, bullying or soliciting customers of the employer should certainly be off-limits;
- how sensitive and/ or confidential information should be treated. For example, client lists, customer details, upcoming deals and trade secrets should not be disclosed in social media settings;
- how branded content, trademarks, copyright and other intellectual property should be used;
- the consequences of breaching the policy, including disciplinary action and ultimately, dismissal for severe or repeated breaches.
Why does your business need one?
Because a Social Media Policy-
- provides clear guidelines to staff
- protects the reputation of the business
- gives you a clear approach to deal with misconduct and tackle issues quickly and effectively.
When should employees be informed of the policy?
Employees should be provided with the policy as soon as they commence employment (for example, during induction training) and receive regular training to ensure ongoing staff awareness, such as via staff emails, newsletters, at staff meetings and training.
How can employers correctly implement a Social Media Policy?
These four simple steps will ensure that you handle Social Media use correctly and comply with employment legislation.
- Provide your staff members with a copy of the Policy as early as possible in their employment and ensure ongoing awareness of the matters contained in the Policy. It’s not enough to just give your staff the Policy and then forget about it.
- Warn staff about their behaviour
- Provide written and verbal notices addressing any misconduct
- Give staff an opportunity to respond and improve behaviour.