Blog - Social Media Policy – Guidelines for Employee Personal Use

Social Media Policy – Guidelines for Employee Personal Use

Social Media continues to revolutionize the way we (individuals and businesses) connect and share information. As this remains a hot topic for expanding business reach, it’s also important that your organization embrace this communication growth with some guidelines for employees. Even if your company is not using social media on a business level, most likely, your employees are still using it in their private lives. A social media policy allows you to set expectations, protecting your business’ reputation.

Social Media:  Web-based tools and technologies used to share information and turn communication into interactive dialogues with internal and external audiences. (Source: SHRM – www.shrm.org)

Examples:  LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Blogs, discussion boards, Flickr, Tumblr, Foursquare, etc.

Social Media continues to revolutionize the way we (individuals and businesses) connect and share information.  As this remains a hot topic for expanding business reach, it’s also important that your organization embrace this communication growth with some guidelines for employees.  Even if your company is not using social media on a business level, most likely, your employees are still using it in their private lives.  A social media policy allows you to set expectations, protecting your business’ reputation.

Your social media policy should address guidelines for:

1 – Appropriate use of the organization’s pages/posts and/or posting on behalf of the organization, and

2 – Content allowed or considered inappropriate for employees to include on personal pages/posts.

In addressing an employee’s personal use of social media, you want to be sure not to restrict use, but to only express your duty as an employer to protect your information, staff, and clients.  Your policy should:

  • Affirm that employees are not to share any confidential company information (ex. customer information, trade secrets, etc.)
  • State that employees are personally liable for posts that violate company policies (even if posted on their own time)
  • Acknowledge that all company policies apply to social media as well (ex. confidentiality, anti-harassment, code of conduct, etc.)
  • Discuss consequences and disciplinary ramifications for policy violations
  • Provide methods for reporting violations
  • Set productivity expectations (This varies amongst business environments.  For those with much access to computers and smart phones, limited use is often allowed as long as it does not interfere with work.)

Used correctly, social media can greatly benefit any organization, providing more ways to engage employees and customers.  Encouraging employees to share company posts and current happenings can have a major impact on promoting your brand and expanding your reach.  However, it is also necessary to establish and enforce a social media policy that helps employees understand social media’s benefits and possible risks.  Setting clear guidelines better protects your company, while maintaining the employees’ right to use social media.