Do You Need a Social Media Policy?

If your employees are mature, responsible, and ethical and always think before they write, then the answer is “NO.”

I bet you are thinking to yourself, be real… When do employees act that responsibility?  Perhaps you have the best company around and just one person has a lapse of memory/judgement.  How will that reflect on your business?  You understand now that I am a proponent of social media policies.

Let me share 5 things to consider when writing your social media policy:
1.  How far do you want to reach? Social networking presents two concerns for employers – how employees are spending their time at work, and how employees are portraying your company online when they are not at work. Any social networking policy must address both types of online use.
2.  Do you want to permit social networking at work, at all? It is not realistic to ban all social networking at work. For one thing, you will lose the benefit of business-related networking, such as LinkedIn. Without turning off Internet access or blocking certain sites, a blanket ban is also hard to monitor and enforce.  Although this may be necessary in a few specific industries such as banking, finance.
3.  If you forbid social networking, how will you monitor it? Turning off Internet access, installing software to block certain sites, or monitoring employees’ use and disciplining offenders are all possibilities, depending on how much time you want to spend watching what your employees do online.
4.  If you allow employees to engage in social networking at work, do you want to limit it to work-related conduct, or permit limited personal use? How you answer this question depends on how you balance productivity vs. return on your market.

5.  How will social networking effect other policies such as: harassment and confidentiality? Employment policies do not work in a alone. Employees’ online presence, can violate any number of other company policies. Drafting a social networking policy is an excellent opportunity to revisit, update, and fine-tune other policies.

We specialize in writing policies and procedures to protect the small business owner.  If you need help with social media, policies, or even developing an on-line business presence we are here to help.

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