With the rise of social media, many companies have decided to develop their very own social media policies. In short, these types of policies are designed to protect confidential company information and to limit negative publicity. The goal of our article is to teach you how to create your own social media for employers.
1. It All Starts With Consistency
The first tip to consider when learning how to develop a social media policy for employers is the importance of consistency. Just like any other workplace policy, your social media guidelines need to be clearly laid out as well as easy to understand.
More importantly, make sure that you address all violations of your social media policy in the same manner. By doing this, you can ensure that your employees understand that everyone must follow the same rules. Ultimately, this shows employees that there is no favoritism when it comes to this set of rules. Everyone is expected to follow them at all times.
2. Understand What You Can and Can’t Control
Another thing you should remember when developing a social media policy for employers is to understand its limitations. In many cases, social media postings are considered free speech. This means that a lot of the comments and other material that employees post are protected.
However, there are certain things that a social media policy can limit safely. One of the main things that a good social media policy seeks to limit is the exposure of sensitive company information. Some prime examples that fall into this category include upcoming changes in upper-level management, new product launches, as well as upcoming sales and promotional events.
Information like this can easily be limited with a well-developed social media policy. In addition, negative comments that could tarnish your company’s reputation can sometimes be limited as well.
3. Form a Task Force
When you’re first creating a social media policy for employers, sometimes it helps to form a task force. Your task force can be used to brainstorm ideas and to create specific guidelines that are both fair and effective.
Your task force should include members of management as well as a random selection of employees. The goal of the task force is to develop a social media policy that is both effective and fair in the eyes of your employees. By asking for their input, you increase the chances of your new policy being readily accepted by the vast majority of your company.
4. Establish Clear Reporting Methods
When creating a social media policy for employers you need to establish clear reporting methods. In some cases, employers may request access to their employees’ social media pages. However, this is not usually common for smaller companies.
In instances like this, employers often rely on an anonymous reporting system. A well-developed system should offer employees a way to submit screenshots and other proof to a dedicated email. In addition, having a human resources officer who is trained to accept these types of reports also helps as well.
5. Research All Violations Thoroughly
The fifth tip for developing a social media policy for employers has to deal with adequately researching violations. Whenever your management team receives a report of a violation of your social media policy, you should immediately begin looking into the issue.
The reason for this is that social media postings can easily be taken down. Your human resources representative should seek to verify the legitimacy of the reported violations themselves. For public profiles, this is often an easy matter of simply searching for the offending post via the appropriate social media platform.
For private profiles, it may be necessary to interview the person directly. However, it’s important to keep the reporting person’s identity secret whenever possible. You can partially do this by asking the potential offender questions relating to the date and time the post was made.
You can also specifically quote some of the information that was in the post to gauge their reaction. Remember, you should never use a screenshot that shows the reporting person’s profile information during your interaction with the potential offender.
6. Monitor Workplace Network Traffic
The network traffic at your company offers a great way to police social media postings. In the event that you are informed of a potential violation of your new company social media policy, one of the first things to check is the web traffic for that specific person at their workstation.
You can easily do this by working with an IT professional. Check to see if the person accessed a social media page that matches the date and time of the reported incident. In the event that you find a match, you have established potential proof that they did indeed commit the violation.
However, some companies choose to take it a bit further by blacklisting social media pages on work computers. This has many potential benefits ranging from increasing productivity to limiting the potential for social media policy violations in the first place.
7. Communicate the Penalties
When creating a social media policy for employers, one of the most important things is to make sure that the penalties are clearly understood by all parties involved. In most cases, this will range from suspension up to and including termination of employment.
The exact length of unpaid suspension or the decision to terminate the employee will obviously be based on the severity of the social media policy violation. No matter what, all employees should understand that they can realistically lose their job for violating the company policy.
8. Get Signed Confirmations
To ensure that you have proof that your employees are well aware of your new social media policy, it helps to get signed confirmations. Have a document drawn up that all new hires sign. The document should list all of the applicable social media guidelines your company has developed.
Have each new employee sign this document during their orientation. In the event that you update your social media policy, have a new document drawn up; ensure that all of your current employees sign an updated acknowledgment form. Keep this stored in a safe and secure location at all times.
By following our guide, you should be well on your way to developing your own social media policy for employers. Just remember that the main goal of a social media policy is to protect sensitive information as well as the company’s image. Always keep this goal in mind and you should have no problems creating an effective policy.