Managing Your Employees’ Social Media Use On and Off the Clock

With the pervasiveness of social media, it’s likely that many of your employees are connected to a variety of social media outlets during work and personal time. This leaves business managers with concerns regarding how they should manage their employees’ usage of social media at work, what potential issues could arise from their actions, and how to mitigate their risks.

Establishing ground rules for social media use at work will help protect the reputation of your business.

Here are a few things to think about before drafting a social media policy:

Should you allow social media at work?  Is allowing social media a necessary or realistic consideration at your company?

Know your current policies.  Review company policies regarding employee usage of company electronic equipment (computers, telephones, and smart phones), technology, and the internet.

Consider both at-work and not-at-work usage. Your social media policy should consider not just how employees are spending their time at work online, but also how they might be describing their work life and your company when they are online outside of work hours.

Set clear expectations.  If you permit at-work networking, you will need to define what you consider appropriate online activity. Clarify for your employees that what they post online is public information and as such, you expect that they will represent your business in a professional manner, including not making negative comments about competitors or posting opinions on controversial issues.

Avoid lawsuits.  Don’t forget that any posts made by your employees become new sources of discovery in any litigation action.

Be sure to get appropriate legal advice about any applicable legal implications of your social media policy. When complete, ensure that your employees are well versed in it.

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