Should employers have a social media policy? The potential employment risks around social media was highlighted this month after the resignation of the first Youth Police and Crime Commissioner, Paris Brown, following racist tweets on her Twitter account. Although the tweets were sent before she applied for and accepted the job, they were there to be scrutinised by her future employers and the media.
It is taken for granted that everyone now has some sort of online presence be it for business, pleasure or both. It is important for employers and employees alike to remember that comments they post online may be traceable. Derogatory or offensive comments made by an employee could not only have an adverse impact on the organisation but, as in this case, damage a career.
We have set out some points for employers and employees to think about to avoid any embarrassing or damaging situations arising from an employee's online presence.
Social media is an excellent way for you to promote your organisation. However before you ask every employee to blog or tweet, it is important that you put in place an appropriate Social Media Policy and highlight this policy to your employees. Ensure that your employees continue to adhere to the terms of this policy during their activity online. In addition, make sure that any social media policy ties in with your current disciplinary procedures, should you be required to follow these.
Remember that any message you post via Twitter, Facebook or a blog reflects on you personally, and your employer if it can be connected in any way to them.
Here are some general rules to go by if you're unsure:
- Although you may have had a rubbish day at work, be careful how you vocalise this on your Twitter feed or blog. If you wouldn't say it in work then it is probably best not to post it online!
- Be aware of your organisation's policy in relation to social media a derogatory comment on Facebook or one that is in breach of confidentiality could result in a disciplinary procedure or dismissal.
- Remember the positives that social media can have for you personally and professionally you can raise your profile, get connected to colleagues and old friends and see what competitors are up to but use it wisely and watch what you say.
For more information on employment and social media issues, get in touch with our experienced employment team.