Social media has become a big part of the workplace, and companies need to develop a social media policy that outlines what staffers can say online. A social media policy is sometimes referred to as a social networking policy. It is a corporate code of conduct that dictates how employees behave online. A social media policy offers guidelines for staffers who post content online as part of their employment or as private citizens. Companies have fired employees for posting risqué comments or images of themselves on Facebook, venting about clients in blogs or posting something derogatory on Twitter. A solid social media policy in the workplace can prevent legal consequences and lawsuits by the employee down the road.
When social media policies do not exist, inappropriate online behavior can affect your customers, employees and the success of your business. In today’s business climate, companies need to speak with an employment law attorney, who can help you create a social media policy to that fits your company.
If you attempt to write your social media police without an attorney, there is a great possibility the policy will violate state or federal law. An incorrect policy may cause you to have to pay a worker large sums of money if you dismiss him or her for breaking the policy you created on your own. This is a major reason why you should utilize an employment law attorney who is well-versed in the law and can ensure the policy is stating the right terms to protect you and your company in the event of a lawsuit.
A social media policy can give your employees important information about the use of social media in the workplace and keep your company brand secure. The policy should include information about best practices and protocols on training and enforcement. A social media policy gives employees the opportunity to freely express themselves without the fear of job loss or career sabotage. Employees will know what they can and cannot say online. A social media policy should contain the following items:
- Accountability Issues
- Confidentiality Requirements
- Branding guidelines
- How Social media posts are approved
- Online Etiquette
- Safety and Security
- Social Media Training, Education, and Implementation procedures
- Engagement Protocols
- Consequences of Social Media Violations in the Workplace
Social media is used often in the office these days. A study by SilkRoad Technology found that 75% of workers access social media each day on the job, and about 60% access social media several times during the work day.
New laws regarding social media in the workplace are now being created. These laws can help companies structure their social media policies in ways that can protect them. Companies need to protect their brands, sensitive information, and intellectual property that can be divulged or stolen through online social media posts made by their employees.
In this ever-changing and pervasive social media landscape, companies should hire an employment law attorney to create an effective social media policy that keeps them safe.