Social Media in the Workplace
Handling social media networks in the workplace and out of the workplace
Social media is a constantly evolving force to be reckoned with in the workplace. Networks like Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and YouTube have astronomical amounts of users that grow by the day. Social media has allowed companies to get plugged in to potential new customers as well as engage current clients and promote their brand. However, there is enormous potential for one bad tweet or post to damage the reputation of the business.
Creating a social media policy can help prevent devastating content from being generated about an employer and employees no longer have to be in the dark about this rapidly increasing trend and are aware of the company’s boundaries and expectations. By working together and embracing social media, employers can utilize their valued workforce to respond to negative content and come up with ways to promote the image of the company.
To help, the Department has created some tips for employers and employees surrounding this issue. Please note: these guidelines have not been tested in the courts and the area is continuing to develop.
Tips for Employers
- Engage your employees and gather feedback on their use of social media sites – at work and home.
- Develop a social media policy. Policies should be carefully tailored to serve a legitimate business interest rather than broad and general.
- Train management and employees on the policy.
- Offer training and have “certified” social media representatives who you trust to represent you – they can monitor discussions about your product or services and can offer personal assistance to anyone who might be having issues.
- Most importantly, learn more about it. Don’t get left behind. Social media, when monitored and used appropriately, can be a great way to promote your company or organization.
Tips for Employees:
- Think twice before "sending a friend request" to your boss.
- Reconsider posting negative comments/confidential information about your work Statements made on social media sites are a reflection of you as a person. While expressing your anger publicly may feel good in the heat of the moment, you should think twice—you never know if other employers are looking at you as a potential hire. Employees should also refrain from discussing or displaying:
- information that is confidential or proprietary
- information that may be valuable to a competitor including specific product information or pricing; embargoed information such as launch dates, release dates, and pending reorganizations; and intellectual property such as drawings and/or designs, software, ideas, and innovation
- Be familiar with your company's social media policy. You are responsible for knowing your employer's stance on using social media during working hours. Understand that if you access social networking sites on company equipment, you have implicitly authorized your employer to access that content as part of its normal systems monitoring.
Other Helpful Links and Resources
- Social Media Goverance's Online Database of Social Media Policies
A database of social media policies – referenced by the world’s largest brands and agencies.
- Monster.com's Social Media at Work: Developing a Social Media Policy for Employees
- NLRB’s Social Media Guidelines for Employers
- How to Write a Social Media Policy