Social media in the workplace: What you should know

This piece is presented by Woods, Fuller, Shultz & Smith PC.

More than 70 percent of adults online use Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. In fact, more than 60 percent of people admit to checking personal social media sites at work more than once a day. How can employers manage online activity and even use it their advantage?

 

Social media as a business tool

Social media can be used to help build your brand and foster efficiency within your workplace. It can be used as a recruitment tool and to broaden business contacts. Employers who develop a feeling of ownership and inclusion with their employees can increase engagement and develop brand ambassadors who help guide the internet conversation around their company or organization. However, encouraging employee engagement through social media can lead to lost time and resources. Employers can use social media access to demonstrate trust but must include consequences.

Social media policy

The human resource department of a company or organization should develop and enforce a social media policy. Employees and management should be trained on the policy and the consequences of violations. A good social media policy should define clearly which activities are deemed “social media,” the purpose of the policy itself and the legal issues and consequences surrounding social media. The policy also should address trade secret and confidential/proprietary information. Rules for expected behavior, guidelines for social networking for business purposes and disciplinary measures should be clear.

Social media and employee screening

A survey of human resource managers found that 70 percent have rejected a job applicant based on information found online through social media or internet searches. In today’s world, applicants likely assume that prospective employers are conducting internet screens as part of their interview process. Employers should inform applicants of the types of online screening that may be included as part of their application process and develop a list of limited questions to guide such searches. Consistency and full disclosure are key.

Employee monitoring

Most employers grant reasonable personal use of their internet systems. Smartphones and laptop computers have made a “no personal use” policy almost impossible. Employers should craft reasonable rules defining prohibited online activity and clearly list disciplinary consequences for violating the policy. Monitoring policies should be fully disclosed and clearly outlined.

Employers will continue to be challenged with setting policy and managing online communication for their businesses and organizations. New platforms for social media continue to appear, and consumer and employee engagement evolves along with them. Jeff Shultz and Morgan Brekke will lead an in-depth discussion on the challenges and legal issues surrounding social media in the workplace, including employee screening, policy management and workers’ compensation claims on June 7 at the 2017 South Dakota Work Comp Summit.

Social media in the workplace: What you should know

More than 60 percent of people admit to checking personal social media sites at work more than once a day. How can employers manage online activity and even use it their advantage?

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