Social Media In The Workplace
By Amanda at Sage HR Advice
The business landscape was changed forever with the advent of social media. Using platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, companies of all sizes have revolutionised their ability to reach their existing and potential customers.
Not only this, but traditional recruitment channels are starting to be overtaken by the use of savvy social networking strategies to identify individuals with specific skill sets.
So social media is brilliant and every business should embrace it, right?
Not so fast. While there are some fantastic advantages to social media in the workplace, there are also disadvantages, which can potentially damage your business and its reputation.
There have been some high profile examples of employees uploading malicious, libellous or commercially sensitive tweets or updates, which has often got them dismissed. However, the damage to their employers has already been done, as countless people have read their posts and formed an opinion about the companies that they represented.
A Matter Of Trust
So what’s the solution? Ban everyone except managers and the social media team from using this technology at work? You could do, but you’d need to think carefully about the message you’re sending to your employees. If your staff think that you don’t trust them, then their morale could be severely damaged, and that’s a real problem.
And then you have to consider what your employees are posting outside of work. If you block their social media activity at work, then the chances are that they will post from home. It’s also likely that a lot of your workers will have smartphones that enable them to post and tweet whenever they want to anyway.
One very popular and effective way of guiding how and when your employees use social media is to put a social media policy in place.
This type of policy, which you can include in your staff handbook, usually sits alongside your computers and IT monitoring policy. In it, you could include things like:
- The type of posts people can and can’t upload
- When social media sites can be used in work hours, if at all
- Guidance about bullying or discriminatory posts
- What measures you will enforce if the guidelines are breached
Remember, even if you have a blanket ban on social media sites at work, it’s still well worth having a social media policy in place to cover out of work postings.
It’s Decision Time
So should you block social networking altogether? It’s an option, but it won’t guarantee that negative posts won’t crop up on your employees’ Facebook or Twitter pages.
What’s more, banning this technology prevents you from taking advantage of the many benefits available to your business, no matter how computer literate you are.
Our advice? Take the time to put a policy together and get the best of both worlds.
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