Create Company's Social Media Policy
It's a fact in today's day and age: social media is an important part of many people's lives. They share photos of their children, big moments in their lives, and gripe about many topics. Yes, they complain about Mondays and the government, but there's something else a lot of them are complaining about: their jobs.
Long hours, employees that drive them crazy, and the slave-driver boss who runs the show. People don't hold back on a free hosting social media platform like Facebook and Twitter, as if it's a safe place to vent their frustrations. But when does it cross the line? When should an employer hold that employee accountable, possibly terminating that person for what they've said?
Company's Social Media Policy: Think Before You Act
It's true that employees should exercise caution regarding what they choose to divulge in a post on a free hosting social media site. However, an employer needs to exercise caution regarding how they discipline an employee for that post as well, or else they go against the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). This important law guarantees the employee can discuss aspects of their job, good or bad, like the hours they work or how much they make.
However, it's not an absolute protection, giving them the right to say whatever they please, no matter how damaging. This is why creating a solid social media policy is so important. This will give the employer peace of mind that their company keeps a good reputation, spelling out ground rules for what employees can and cannot say regarding the company and its activities.
Five Tips To A Decent Social Media Policy
1. Watch your wording.
It's hard to use terms like “offensive” when offensive is a relative term. One person's idea of offensive is harmless to another. The more broad your terminology is regarding unacceptable social media behavior, the better your chances of restricting an employee's rights under the NLRA.
2. Be as specific as possible.
Don't just say “Employers cannot divulge any confidential information on a social media platform” and leave it at that. You need to provide clear definitions as to the types of information considered confidential.
3. Provide clear examples.
When you provide examples of unacceptable behavior, it makes it easier for the employees (who, again, will interpret the rules differently from person to person based on their own set of values) to interpret exactly what is expected of them. This makes you more NRLA-compliant as no one has to interpret the rules for themselves.
4. Review periodically and update when necessary.
Keep an eye on the National Labor Relations Board for new rules and regulations so that you can amend your policies when things change, ensuring you're always compliant.
5. Review company-wide policies for guidance.
In certain cases, an employee might be violating another policy completely unrelated to social media. Review all of your company's policies periodically, like harassment and discrimination, to ensure they are also NLRA-compliant.
Creating a social media policy can be tricky business. It requires close and careful attention to every last detail to ensure your company and the rights of your employees are equally protected.
Do you have a social media policy in place?