Social media and your employees

Michael_CosgroveTNIn his latest My Business blog, human resources expert Michael Cosgrove explains how you can put in place the right social media policies for your employees – and how to act when they don’t toe the line.

In his latest My Business blog, human resources expert Michael Cosgrove explains how you can put in place the right social media policies for your employees – and how to act when they don’t toe the line.

Facebook, Twitter, Myspace…the social media list goes on. Without researching the exact figures, it would not be unrealistic to assume that well over half of the world’s population has at some stage in their personal and professional lives either “posted” or “tweeted” something into cyber space.

The recent move from Facebook to increase the privacy protection of its users has been hailed as a good move by those of us that use the social media outlet to stay connected to friends and family.

However, the recent reports of employers wanting access to current and potential employees’ Facebook log-in details has ignited the debate of “when does the employment relationship end and employees’ personal lives begin?”.

The answer here is simple – the two are separate…until the employee crosses the line and uses the social media outlets to defame, degrade, bully and/or harass other employers, or comment to an extent that it brings the employer into disrepute.

So how do you manage your employees’ increasing social media addiction? The answer to this too is simple – you simply forbid the use of social media during work hours, and make the consequences for the misuse of social media abundantly clear.

Michael_CosgroveLGMany employers will say, “how can we monitor their usage?” or “how do we know they aren’t saying bad things about their job or us as their employer?. Unfortunately, unless you have the capacity to monitor their computer usage, or you get tipped off by a disgruntled fellow employee, you can’t.

While there have been situations where employees have been instantly dismissed for flagrant breaches of Social Media Policy, there has also been several instances where the employee has come out on top because of a clear lack of robust policy, and for employers failing to adequately explain and/or enforce the consequences.

While “forbid” sounds like a rather draconian term, it’s meaning, and your employees’ ability to understand what it means to them, is fairly clear.

While social media can help build a profitable business, it can also be a business’s downfall. So be social media aware – and be social media prepared.

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