17 September 2015

5 steps to an effective social media policy

Regulation of the use of social media is increasingly important for employers as the line becomes blurred between where the workplace starts and stops and what is private and what is personal. Below are our top 5 tips for an effective social media policy that will increase protection for your organisation while avoiding claims that the policy unreasonably infringes upon an employee’s private life.

1. A social media policy should provide the foundations of a workplace culture which encourages positive use of social media through training and guidelines.

Social media is a part of doing business for most organisations. Imposing a blanket ban on social media use or setting unrealistic standards of behaviour which impact on an employee’s freedom of speech or privacy is not always achievable or desirable. A clear social media policy outlining what is and is not permitted is essential. Ensure that the social media policy is a working document that remains up-to-date with technological changes and training occurs regularly to ensure that employees are aware of their obligations.

2. Ensure that the policy expressly states that it applies to private use of social media.

Whether social media is used on an employee’s private computer, or when accessed remotely using an employer’s IT system, ensure that the policy clearly articulates that the policy extends to regulating the employee’s behaviour bother during and outside of work hours, to the extent in may have an impact on their employment or the organisation.

3. What happens on “tour”, stays on Facebook.

Anything that gets posted on social media is not truly private. It is not about where or when the behaviour occurs, but who the behaviour occurs in front of or with and whether the use of social media may bring the employer into disrepute.

4. Reinforce the policy through interactive training.

The effectiveness of any policy and strategy on social media is undermined without it being effectively communicated. In the context of unfair dismissal laws, a failure to have regular education and training on a policy could result in the dismissal for breach of the policy being found to be unfair.

Employers have the ability to discipline employees for conduct that is in breach of a workplace policy. A policy is there to be enforced and employers must make a conscious effort to implement the policy across the organisation. 

Do you want to introduce a social media policy in your organisation or do you have a social media policy that needs updating? Consider one of our Gold or Platinum Partnership Packages where your organisation can have 3 or more policies reviewed annually as part of one of our packages tailored to your organisation along with other inclusions such as discounts on litigation fees, discount on training fees and complimentary attendance at PCS webinars and events.   

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