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LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook: Have you got it covered?
It seems that you only have to go onto to various social networking websites to see some of the comments the public are writing about the allegations involving Cliff Richard. It would appear that some individuals are quite happy to broadcast their opinions on the World Wide Web. But have these people considered how this may affect them if representing their place of work?
Today watching the local news, I see that new figures revealed that police workers in the region have been investigated for breaching social media guidelines. In Lancashire one constable resigned over excessive and inappropriate use of the internet at work. One Facebook post showed a member of staff asleep on duty! I would have thought the police should have known better!!
Social networking policy?
So, what can employers do about the use of social media? The web is something many of us have been using for more than 15 years. Does your company have a social networking policy?
There is some confusion over what is acceptable behaviour in the use of social networking. Some people believe that the right to use it is a given and that they have complete freedom of speech. But having worked in HR and the service sector I’ve witnessed some of the problems that social networking brings to the workplace. So it’s easy, if you haven’t got a social networking policy – get one! If you’re a QCS client, you’ll soon be able to download a detailed policy from you compliance management system. And if you have one, ensure it’s not collecting dust having never been communicated to employees.
Points to consider
Here’s a few points to consider when drafting a policy:
- Communicate the guidelines and policy clearly to all employees.
- Make it clear when employees will be seen to represent the company if using social media.
- Get all employees to sign the social networking policy at induction to say they understand, accept and agree to it.
- If you have concerns about an employee’s comments on the web, deal with them in an appropriate time frame; avoid any knee jerk reactions.
With social networking playing such a significant part in all of our lives whether it be Facebook, LinkedIn or reviewing your latest holiday on Trip Adviser. It pays to have clear guidelines about what can and can’t be posted.
Anita Manfredi of Employer Solutions – QCS HR Expert Contributor