Is Social Media working for you?
Do all employees represent companies outside of work hours? The simple answer is “Yes”.
As soon as a conversation takes place within a group of people and the question arises as to where one works, what the company’s business does and what they are like to work for, an employee becomes the best sales representative or total destroyer of the company, brand or image. It’s how they portray the company that counts. In this situation, however, the circle of influence is small.
Oh, how times have changed – social media networking websites such as Twitter and Facebook for example, have opened up communication channels nationally and globally. A quick tweet or post on Facebook can gain momentum and spread like wildfire. Employees can be positive brand ambassadors or they can burn a company’s reputation when they communicate about the company in a bad light, break privacy rules, post inappropriate photographs or offend a fellow employee with a derogatory post.
It is important that companies now have a strong social media policy and rules for social media usage explaining the expectations both inside and outside of business for employees when talking about their job, the company, fellow employees, customers, products and services etc. They also need to be clear on the consequences for violation of the social media policy and what disciplinary action may result. A sound policy can be a company’s first line of defence in an employment dispute.
A recent Employment Court decision now means that an employer can search and use an employee’s social media activities in employment disputes. Yes, really.
Common sense should prevail; networking websites are part of our daily lives so policy should be based on what’s best for a brand and company culture. Employees also need to be aware that when applying for jobs it is becoming a more common practice for employers to check out candidates and their activities online. A candidate with an inappropriate social networking presence can be considered a real turn-off for prospective employers.
Social networking is supposed to be fun, but as this popular medium has grown we need to be conscientious of what is posted at all times. Therefore the risk to employers and individuals is too high not to have a guidelines and rules that all employees are aware of. Remember that what is said online stays online. It pays to pause and re-read before one hits the “Send” button. If an employee wouldn’t want a particular thought or remark associated with their name, they shouldn’t post it.
If you don’t have a social media policy for your business, give Paddy at Battersby HR Consulting a call now to find out what you need to know. 09 838 6338; firstname.lastname@example.org.