Top 10 Rules for Employee Social Media Policies

Know your rights and avoid serious issues

During this digital age, social media is being used everywhere and by just about everyone, including your employees. As a result, you have a whole new online world to manage, as employee social activity that is not monitored could end up causing serious issues for your business. Here are some ways to help you successfully manage this challenging issue.

Five things you must do

#1 Have a plan: You must have a plan for employee use of social media in the workplace. You might not think this is a big issue, but an employer could be held responsible for the online actions of those who work for them, whether a post happens at home or at work.  

#2 Implement a clear policy: This brings you to developing and implementing a clear policy for social media, outlining what is allowed and what is prohibited. The policy should contain details of appropriate and inappropriate behavior, in addition to things that are strictly forbidden. Of course, you should ensure legal professional reviews the policy to ensure that it is thorough and understandable. 

#3 Train your employees: A formal training program will teach your employees how to behave on social media where the workplace is concerned and also outline the consequences for violating the policy. It will also demonstrate that you, as a company, are committed to ensuring that your public image remains sound. 

#4 Keep detailed records: Retain written proof that employees have agreed to and understood the policy.

#5 Monitor responsibly: In many jurisdictions, you have the right to monitor your employee’s social media at all times. However, you should make sure that you monitor them responsibly, as overly zealous scrutiny can contribute to tension in the workplace and have a negative impact on morale and trust.

Five mistakes to avoid
#1 Overreacting: If an employee violates your social media policy, don’t rush to fire or punish them, which could have potential legal implications and could decrease morale. Try talking through the situation with the employee and giving a warning before terminating a contract. 

#2 Overreaching: Don’t exert too much control over what your employees do on social media. While there are things that should certainly be banned or restricted, social media is also a personal place, and your policies should respect that whenever possible.

#3 Hit-and-miss implementation: Everyone must adhere to the policy, from interns to CEO. This leaves everyone being treated as equals, but also ensures that you are protected as a company. 

#4 No source for questions: Some employees are going to have questions about the policy, and you will need to appoint someone as the person they contact with queries or concerns. This will not only make you more transparent to your employees, but will also ensure that questions are answered satisfactorily. 

#5 Inconsistency: When it comes to disciplinary actions, you should always be consistent and treat everyone equally. This not only provides a measure of legal protection, but it also means that unrest among employees is likely to be lessened, because they will know that one person is not singled out. 

Meryl Snow

Owner, Feastivities Events, Philadelphia, PA and Senior Consultant, Certified Catering Consultants

With nearly 30 years in the special event and catering industry, Meryl Snow is the co-founder of Feastivities Events and the creator of The Triangle Method.  As a Senior Consultant for Certified Catering Consultants, Meryl travels throughout North America training clients in the areas of sales, marketing, design and branding to help businesses get on their own path to success.She is the author of Booked It! and Cha-CHING!

Meryl Snow

Catersource Advisory Council Member

Founder of www.TriangleMethodTraining.com...