Social Media in the Workplace: Establish Policies

Social media can be an incredibly effective tool for organizations and employees. It provides an important platform for networking, sharing information and managing a brand’s online presence. However, social media in the workplace can also blur the lines between the professional and personal, putting employees and organizations at risk for misuse and misconduct. The solution to this problem is to establish clear social media policies for your business. The following are some tips for implementing a successful workplace social media policy.

Be Proactive

If your policy is unclear from the beginning and you only step in with disciplinary action after an issue has occurred, you’ve created a bad situation for your organization. Create clear-cut guidelines, proactively go over those guidelines with employees and hold refresher meetings when necessary. If employees understand social media policies, it is more likely that they will conduct themselves appropriately.

Don’t Be Overly Restrictive

Banning access to social media completely is not practical—most employees can still connect from their phones—and can lead to more problems than solutions. A better approach is to allow limited access and to set clear time management and conduct policies.

Keep it Simple

If you hand employees a pile of documents with convoluted language outlining your social media policies, they will not read it and therefore will not follow it. Incorporate the conversation into your orientation and professional development plans. Cover constructive guidelines on personal vs. professional use; responsibility for posts; disciplinary action; protecting the brand and using common sense.

Involve Everyone

Rather than laying down the law, initiate a team discussion concerning social media strategy. Everyone can contribute, weigh in on fair policies and will be more likely to follow the rules you set together.

Incorporate Positivity

Don’t just tell your employees what they can’t do. Outline and encourage responsible and valuable social media use. Incentivize your employees’ positive and professional interaction with and promotion of your brand. Try to keep it fun!

It’s incredibly important to have clear social media policies in place. However, when implementing these policies, the key is not to micromanage or stifle the work environment. Instead, make boundaries clear in order to encourage responsible conduct online. Help your employees represent themselves and your organization well.  

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