While the world of social media has blossomed over the past couple of years, companies need to be sure they create clear policies of what is allowed and what is not. It’s clear the world of the Internet will continue to expand and change.
Earlier this year, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) settled a complaint against the American Medical Response. The medical transportation company had fired an employee for posting critical comments about her boss on her Facebook page. The NLRB stated the company’s social media policy was overly restrictive and that the employee’s post was protected under labor laws that allow workers to talk about their working conditions.
Social media experts say almost every large company in the nation now has a social media policy in place, but the content and adequacy of the policies vary. Experts say all policies should include the following:
- Corporate objectives for social media use.
- List of employees who are designated to speak on behalf of the company.
- Social media etiquette (including types of information that can be shared when posting comments, items that are considered confidential, possible conflicts of interest, etc.). Employees should also understand what corporate information should never be disclosed or discussed in a social media setting. For instance, some companies don’t share e-mail addresses, organizational charts, etc.
- They should also include a training component. This way, employees will know how to maximize social media opportunities.
- Companies should also consider if outsiders should be able to comment on the corporate blog.
Social media policies should not be stagnant. For instance, companies might reconsider a ban on disclosure of private information in work e-mails. Under such a ban, sharing a personal Twitter or Facebook account would be off-limits—even though it could be an invaluable way to communicate with customers and potential customers.
Modern Business Associates is an HR company that focuses on payroll and HR outsourcing. We routinely work with clients on social media policies. As a Professional Payroll and HR outsource organization, our clients rely on us to help them effectively deal with these kinds of topics.
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