As we near the end of 2019, managing employees’ use of social media platform remains one of the most common concerns we discuss with our clients.
As people conduct more business and socialising online, Facebook and Twitter have become the 21st century’s equivalent of joking, griping and venting in the canteen. Conversations that have previously happened in someone’s home or by the water cooler are now happening online and this has opened the door for us to know people’s intimate views on things that may not even be work-related.
So, what if those views are derogatory, offensive or even worse threatening?
The challenging part for employers is that there are no hard and fast rules about what acceptable behaviour in this regard is. Instead the law calls for a fair and reasonable response to disciplining offending staff. But what exactly is reasonable?
What can you do as an employer?
Don’t wait until a crisis erupts to decide which types of off duty conduct are unacceptable. A straightforward social media policy that has been clearly explained to employees will always be the starting point and will offer employers some protection in the courts should they ever need to discipline an employee.
An effective and comprehensive social media policy should set out the standards of conduct expected from staff when using social media, making clear that a breach of the policy may lead to disciplinary action, including dismissal. Policing social media is impossible, instead a policy can lay a foundation for minimising the risk of misuse and should act as a deterrent.
Ultimately whether you like it or not your employees are going to be active on social media, and they will make mistakes unless they get good guidance, the kind of guidance a good social media policy will provide.
If you would like help with designing a social media policy that is right for you and your staff call HR Caddy today.
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