Human Resources

HR’s Perspective on Social Media

Social Media Dos & Don’ts 

Do have a policy.

As with all policies, if you are not going to follow it, it is better not to have one. However, most employees have come to expect guidelines regarding social media from their employer. The following are a couple of tips if your company institutes a social media policy, and we recommend doing that.

Your organization’s Social Media policy should include references to other company policies, such as anti-discrimination, anti-harassment, conflicts-of-interest, and confidentiality. Be certain to clearly indicate that these policies apply equally to online conduct as well as in the physical workplace.

Make sure that your company’s policies specifically define inappropriate conduct, and that they do not have a “chilling” effect on your employee’s Section 7 rights. Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) allows employees of private employers (unionized or not) to discuss their wages, benefits, and working conditions. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) takes the position that this protection also extends to social media. 

Don’t take it personally.

Employers often have a knee-jerk reaction when an employee makes a negative comment about his job, his employer, or his supervisor. Resist the temptation to respond with emotion and possibly making the situation worse. If you discover an online post about your business written by an employee, you should ask yourself, “Does the post really impact the organization in a negative way, or is it every day, “water-cooler” type gossip?” Unless you can identify actual harm to the organization, you may want to reconsider whether or not the company should take any action. 

Don’t surf the web.

Do not proactively check your employees’ social media pages. People use social media in different ways and for different reasons. Some people adjust privacy settings regularly, while others do not. As an employer, you may encounter things which you are not legally supposed to see.  Additionally, managers should be encouraged to not accept friend requests from subordinates or colleagues on social networking sites.

~The Employers Association

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