• The use of social media within businesses is rapidly increasing, and it is commonplace for many businesses to have an online presence on sites like Twitter or LinkedIn.

    There was a good deal of debate at the recent Manufacturing Expo about how businesses can raise their profile using social media and share important news with followers at the touch of a button. With so many ways that social media can be accessed, it is not surprising that employers are nervous at the prospect of their employees unwittingly sharing sensitive information across the internet or making reputation-damaging comments.

    Below, we have identified some top tips for employers to consider when dealing with social media in the workplace.

    1. Put a social media policy in place – Making sure your employees are aware from the outset what is acceptable in relation to the use of social media will send a clear signal about company expectations. Employees should be aware that any conduct online which causes damage to the company’s reputation can amount to misconduct or potentially gross misconduct. If your employees will be required to use social media in the course of their duties, make sure they know what they can and can’t publish online and who needs to authorise that information before it goes live.
    2. Protect confidential information – Make sure employees know what consequences any disclosure of confidential information via social media will have. For example, this could breach their own employment contract, cause difficulties with employees or client relationships and potentially breach security laws.
    3. Update policies and procedures – As well as having a comprehensive social media policy, consider updating your other policies to refer to social media such as any anti-harassment and bullying policy to make it clear any cyberbullying will not be tolerated.
    4. Be restrictive…but not too much – Restricting employees from using company resources to access personal social media accounts during specified hours can be a sensible step to help stop businesses suffering reduced productivity and losing money through the misuse of social media sites during working hours. Employers may, however, want to avoid being overly restrictive, if a disproportionate response might have the effect of lowering morale. Offer training to ensure that employees are clear on the parameters for using social media and be clear on how any misuse might affect your company’s reputation.

    Social media can be an excellent way for businesses to keep in touch with contacts and grow and maintain their customer base. If you are considering introducing a social media policy or would like any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

    This content is correct at time of publication

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