Posted: August 7th, 2013
Social Media Policy
Social Media Policy
A social media policy is a guideline given to employees to regulate how they interact with social media during the period of employment. Given the frequency of social media in the place of work, it is becoming increasingly necessary for employers to allow the effective monitoring of employee use of social media. Therefore, the addition of a few more clauses in the employee handbook to make clear the confidentiality understanding should suffice. The guidelines should include a clause that specifies how employees interact on the social website and even blogs.
The emergence of Twitter and Facebook, YouTube, blogs, smartphones, and tablet PCs, employees’ access to the internet has been greatly expounded. This therefore, means that the employer is exposed to great risk. Companies should have several social media policies. Companies make the mistake of stopping at what an employee can or cannot do over the internet. These policies should therefore, be as numerous as the social networks and blogs your employees use. This will safeguard the company from employees who breach the company’s confidentiality agreement and get away on a technicality. The social media policy is the company’s first line of defense (Black, 2010). However, the social media policy is not only about protecting the company; it also allows the employee to operate these sites knowledgeably without breaching the confidentiality clause.
The guidelines in blogging and social media policies help the employee make appropriate decisions about work related blogging (Heathfield, 2012). Social media policies do not just apply to the permanent employees of a company, but also to individuals who offer services on a contract basis. Employees should take the opportunity to appraise themselves on the contents of these documents before they interact on blogs and social networks. This is one advantage that employees can make use off and avoid legal problems.
The social media policy has general guidelines of use that an employee should know. If an employee is going to mention anything about the company, it is crucial that they reveal their status in that blog or website. Theft should also mention that the views expressed on those websites and or blogs are theirs alone and none of represents the company’s views. The employee should also not speak about the company unless they have express permission to do so from the relevant persons. They should also not purport to represent the company if one has no such authority. The employee out of courtesy should inform management of their intentions before they create or develop a blog about the company.
The social media policy also requires that the employee can never share any confidential or proprietary information about the company. This includes any information about product launches, sales reports, company strategy or any other data that has not been released first by the company. The employee should contact the relevant officers before releasing any potentially damaging information to the public. The company logo and trademarks should not be used without written consent from the concerned parties.
In operating the blog or interacting in the social media, it is expected of the employee to address the employers and anything concerning the employer respectfully. It is inappropriate for an employee to operate these media by attacking rivaling companies. This may taint the company’s reputation, which may be difficult to salvage. The use offensive or derogatory remarks may lead to disciplinary action from the employer not excluding termination of employment. The employee should honor the privacy right of the employers by seeking approval before posting any material that could be considered confidential (Heathfield, 2012).
One significant advantage that the corporations have is control over what is said about them on the cyber space. Companies have to employ individuals to monitor the sites the company employees use to avoid any leaks. It comes at a cost, but in the end, it is worth the expense. It would have been cheaper if the company could just trust their employees. What an employee says without permission from management may have legal implications, which people may want to exploit. The social network policy therefore, protects the companies from the risk of incurring legal costs arising from the lawsuits. When managed properly, employees’ personal use of social media can improve the workers general contentment with and dedication to their jobs. Friendly policies that do not require a limited use of social networks in the office can be advantageous to the company and improve productivity.
The company social media policy has been thought of as a disadvantage since it acts as a gag order. It bars any employee from revealing any information without the express approval from management. The authorities have trouble in monitoring any unscrupulous dealings in which a company may be engaged. The punitive measures taken for employees who leak damaging information, which would be beneficial to the society, are too harsh. This makes potential whistleblowers to shy away from revealing the truth.
Employees feel that employees infringe on their privacy right. Social networking in the work place is private; employers should recognize that they are invading the employees privacy by monitoring them (Moore, 2012). Another issue is the fact that the information on the social networks about some one can be ground for denial of employment. Employers hide under the guise of protecting their image yet, whatever appears on social networks are not relevant to what the potential employee will do there. Social media policy is vital, but there has to b a regulatory measure on how far it can go in monitoring employees.
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