5 things your workplace social media policy should include

By Charles Power on September 2nd, 2011
  1. Employee Management
  2. Social Media Policy

Dear Reader,

On Wednesday, I went over a recent social media case law and what your business could take from it.

So today, I thought it would be a good chance to discuss why it is so important that you have a social media policy in your workplace.

While you may already have policies in place that cover employee internet and email use, it is becoming more and more important that you set rules and guidelines for the way your employees use social media – both in the workplace and at home (just take a look at the outcomes of some recent social media case laws – you can check out the case I discussed in Wednesday’s Bulletin here).

Here are 5 things you should seriously consider including in your workplace social media policy:

1.   A definition of social media. You need to make sure your employees are aware of exactly what you mean when you say “social media”. For example, do you mean just sites like Facebook and Twitter, or are you also referring to blogs and other multi-media? To cover yourself, you should also make it clear that the policy is not just limited to the sites and types of media that you list.

2.   A description of social media behavior that is not acceptable. Your policy should remind employees that they should not say or do anything on social media that:

  • has the potential to bring your business into disrepute;
  • gives away or discusses your business’ confidential information;
  • could be viewed as derogatory towards, or disparaging of, colleagues, customers or clients; or
  • undermines their effectiveness or productivity at work (eg. through excessive use).

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3.   A description of the kind of social media behavior that is acceptable. Make it clear to your employees in the policy when and for how long it is acceptable to use social media sites at work (eg., during breaks).

4.   A reminder of the dangers of social media. You should remind your employees in the policy about what they risk when they post something on social media. Remind them that anything posted on social media can be seen by many and is not easy to erase.

5.   The consequences of breaching the policy. You need to make employees aware of what could happen if they breach the terms of the policy and set out exactly how they will be disciplined if they do.

Remember, you also need to make sure your policy is available to all your employees AND train and remind them about it regularly to ensure it is effective.

Until next time…

Claire Berry

Claire Berry
Workplace Bulletin

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