The prevalence of social media usage means that all employers should adopt a Social Media Policy setting out the 'ground rules' and the employers expectations of how employees will behave online.
Some employers are naturally wary of being seen to tell employees what to do in their own time and how to present themselves online; but the reality is that there can be a conflict between how employees express themselves online and a Company's values.
Social media has created the ability for people to express themselves, but when users post discriminatory or offensive messages or discuss work-related issues online then that can have an impact on business reputation. Some employers require their employees to use social media for work-related purposes and, in that case, there is even more of a need for employers to be clear on how employees should be expressing themselves online.
Simon’s Top 5 tips for a social media policy:
Be clear that disciplinary action (including dismissal) can occur for a breach of the Policy
Give examples of the type of content that will be regarded as inappropriate (even if it seems obvious) - for example, content that could be perceived as bullying, discriminatory or offensive
Link the Policy to your Company values and make it clear that those values should be upheld online at all times
Be clear that the Policy applies to all social media content, even if posted in an employee's own time, using privacy settings and on a personal device
Don’t discourage social media use but do encourage responsibility
This is an extract from my interview with Prosper Magazine. The full article (indeed the full magazine) can be read here: