Workplace policies allow employers to set guidelines and boundaries for their staff to ensure that the business runs smoothly online as much as it does offline.
One policy that has only become necessary for organisations over the past ten years, is a social media policy (which could fall under your internet and email policy).
A social media policy should detail exactly what is expected of employees when it comes to conducting themselves online and be included in your employee handbooks.
Though you can’t control what someone does or says outside of work, you still have the right to safeguard your company’s reputation and discipline a member of staff who puts this in jeopardy, even when it is outside of the workplace.
By putting a social media policy in place, you are protecting your business from any legal trouble, creating consistency across channels and safeguarding your company’s reputation.
What Should You Include in Your Social Media Policy
Please note that you should cover both your employee’s personal social media accounts as well as any official company accounts in your policy.
The first section should outline the expected behaviour of your employees when they are using social media either personally or professionally. This may include restricting the use of profanity on company platforms, not allowing the posting of any negative comments about the company when it comes to personal accounts, or making any reference to the working environment and colleagues.
You should also discuss confidentiality, customer engagement and brand guidelines so that employees know exactly how they should be using social media to benefit the business and what information is completely off limits.
You may want to follow this with a section on who is responsible for overseeing conduct on social media, particularly when posting on behalf of the company.
Will a director need to sign off on every post, or will there be regular but random check-ins from time to time?
This would also be a great time to mention personal social media privacy and responsibilities because employee’s do have their right to privacy and should not be forced to share their social media account information with anyone.
However, if you do happen to find that they are using their social media accounts to misrepresent the business (maybe thanks to a whistle-blower), you can then step in and discipline them accordingly following investigation should they bring the company into disrepute.
Furthermore, should an employee use social media to bully or harass a colleague, you’ll need to take appropriate action in accordance to your bullying and harassment policy.
You will also need to cover the legal risks involved when running a business’ social media account such as crediting sources when you repost other people’s content, employee disclaimers and so on.
This may require a more qualified legal eye to ensure that you don’t find yourself being lumbered with a large fine in the future.
Finally, you should outline the security risks and any procedures in place to keep your company social media accounts secure.
This might include changing passwords every three months, being aware of scams and malicious threats so that you know how to avoid them and what to do should you find yourself in a security breach.
Social media is always changing and progressing, so this policy would also need a regular review to keep up with the current landscape.
If you would like some assistance in putting together a comprehensive and effective social media policy, then call us today on 0845 2626 260.