Human Resources

HR’s Perspective on Social Media

Social Media Dos & Don’ts 

Do have a policy.
As with all policies, if you are not going to follow it, it is better not to have one. However, most employees have come to expect social media guidelines from their employer. The following are a couple of tips if your company institutes a social media policy, which is our recommendation.

Your Social Media policy should reference other company policies, such as anti-harassment, anti-discrimination, conflicts-of-interest and confidentiality. Make it clear that these policies apply equally to online conduct just as they do in the physical workplace.

Make sure your company policies specifically define inappropriate conduct and that they do not have a “chilling” effect on your employee’s Section 7 rights. Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) allows employees of private employers (unionized or not) to discuss their wages, benefits and working conditions. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) takes the position that this protection extends to social media. 

Don’t take it personally.

Employers often have a knee-jerk reaction when an employee makes a negative comment about his job, his employer or his supervisor. Resist the temptation to respond with emotion and possibly worsen the situation. If you discover an online post about your organization written by an employee, you should ask yourself, “Does the post really impact the organization in a negative way or is it every day, “water-cooler” gossip?” Unless you can identify actual harm to the organization, you may want to consider whether or not the company should take any action. 

Don’t surf the web.
Do not proactively check your employees’ social media pages. People use social media in different ways and for different reasons. Some people adjust privacy settings regularly while others do not. As an employer, you may encounter things you are not legally supposed to see.  Additionally, managers should be encouraged to not accept friend requests from subordinates and colleagues on social networking sites.

~The Employers Association

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