The 9th of November is Social Media Kindness Day here in the UK. And as HR professionals, we think it’s great. That’s because, as you already know, there’s a lot of unkindness on social media as people hide behind their screens in perceived safety.
And while there can be a lot of positives to take from social media, we do think it’s important that as a business owner you take the impact that social media can have on your people seriously.
Here are the 5 biggest issues you may see with social media in the workplace:
Bullying and discrimination – starting with the obvious. While you don’t have the right to monitor employees’ social media accounts, if you receive a complaint that an employee is bullying or discriminating against someone online you can investigate and deal with the matter accordingly. And it doesn’t matter if the bullying is occurring inside or outside of work either.
Confidentiality – there’s the potential for employees to leak confidential business information online, whether purposely or not. The same can be said for ex-employees looking to cause damage to the company’s reputation.
Excessive use at work – yep, there’s nothing quite like taking a 5-minute break to scroll and realising an hour has gone by. But on work time that’s simply not acceptable. You need to outline in your social media policy what is classed as acceptable use during working hours.
Abuse of sick leave – you’ve heard the stories before. Member of staff pulls a sickie, yet they’re posting pictures all over social media of a crazy night out, or they’re off with a bad back yet posting holiday photos from around the pool. Don’t jump to conclusions though, broach the conversation carefully and gather the evidence before making accusations.
Damaging your reputation – your employees can post what they want to on their social media platforms, but they must remember that they’re also representing your business. You should add something to your social media policy that states they can’t bad-mouth your company online, or express controversial views on a page that isn’t strictly private.
Despite all that, social media really can be a great tool to help employees connect with each other and your business with its customers. Used in the right way it can be powerful and uplifting.
Make sure you have a solid social media policy in place, that everyone has seen it and that everyone can access it whenever they may need to. And if you need help, feel free to call us!
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