There have recently been many reports in the media that portray social media in a bad light; especially when it is used in the workplace. Reports of dismissal and misconduct due to posts on sites have led many employers to believe that sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are more of a hindrance than a help in the office. However, if you prepare and protect your organisation with the correct policies and guidelines surrounding these, social networking can become an excellent tool for your business to use.
Around a third of companies do not currently have a social media policy in place. Many already have set rules and procedures surrounding IT and online usage – but these are not always suitable enough to protect the employer from new issues surrounding social networking. Social media sites, unlike traditional internal communication methods, allow employees to express information about their employer that can potentially be viewed by anyone in the world.
If not managed correctly, social media can cause problems with:
Time wasting - The ease of access to social media sites both on computers and mobiles can make it easy for employees to get distracted from their work.
Security - It is difficult to manage what is communicated online, as well as threats from viruses and malware. Employees could easily give away protected or confidential information about the company to anyone.
Privacy - Allowing personal and work lives of employees to mix can cause problems, and some employees may not be comfortable with others posting information or photographs of them.
A good social media policy in an Employee Handbook can help to protect employers from issues such as the above. This will allow you to focus on the benefits of social media: encouraging staff communication, developing both personal and commercial relationships, and promoting the business online. Social media can be an excellent platform to communicate your business to the rest of the world; you just need to be prepared for any possible mishandling of this method of communication.
Qdos can help by providing a suitable social networking policy as part of your Employee Handbook. Our employment advice line can also help you to deal with any employee relations issues that may occur as a result of social media. For more information, please contact us