How should you deal with social media in your workplace?

Did you know that misuse of the internet and social media by workers costs Britain’s economy billions of pounds every year? Time theft, defamation, cyber bullying and invasion of privacy issues can affect both your employees and your business, so you should take steps to formalise and control the use of social media.

Your social media policy

As part of your HR strategy, you should develop a social media policy to clearly set out what is and isn’t acceptable in the workplace when using the internet, emails, smart phones, and networking websites. You need to be clear on the distinction between business and private use, and what amount of private use is acceptable for your employees. You also need to ensure that employees know what they can and cannot say online about your business and other employees.

It’s a good idea to develop these clear guidelines working alongside members of staff and management to ensure acceptance. Employees do not want to feel controlled about what they can and can’t do, in regards to their freedom of speech, and having input into the social media policy will build engagement throughout the business.

It’s also important to set appropriate rules for employees that might be tweeting or blogging on behalf of the company. What tone of voice they use, what they should and shouldn’t say to customers, how they react to complaints and so on can be standardised and the risk reduced by providing guidance beforehand. Make sure they know what information they can and can’t disclose, the opinions they can express and also give guidance on any relevant legislation or copyright issues.

The affect of social media on other areas of your business

Using social media to recruit candidates is now extremely popular and very useful given the exposure available through popular online platforms. However, employees should be made aware that, when recruiting, it may be discriminatory or unfair to assess potential applicants through their social media sites and profiles. Amending your current recruitment policy and procedures to include this information will reduce the risk of employees using social media to find out more about applicants.

It’s also a good idea to look through other existing policies to see how social media and internet use might affect them. For example, including the term cyber-bullying in policies regarding discrimination and bullying in the workplace.

When looking at disciplinary procedures, related to online activity, you should try to apply the same standards of conduct as you would in offline issues. You need to make employees aware, throughout the business, that whatever is said online will have the same consequences as comments made ‘in real life’.

If you need guidance on social media use and social media policy in your business, contact me today


Staff Handbooks – why do you need them?

A staff handbook might seem like some unnecessary admin, especially when you class yourself as an SME or growing business. However, keeping employees informed of how your company works is an essential piece of communication and can really contribute to the efficiency of your organisation.

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

What is a staff handbook?

A staff handbook is, simply, a reference document can be made available to each employee containing information about your company. This may include company rules, HR policies, terms and conditions of employment and information on facilities and amenities.

What do you put in a staff handbook?

The staff handbook gives details of the employment relationship; provides a source of information about their workplace and gives expectations of behaviour.

Basic HR policies that should be included are:

  • Disciplinary Policy and Procedure
  • Grievance Policy
  • Equal Opportunity Policy
  • Anti-Bullying and Harassment Policy
  • IT Use Policy
  • Social Media Policy

It can increase understanding of your actions as an employer, and well as improving trust between you and your employees. Introducing a dialogue between you and your employees about what should be included in the staff handbook, as well as making changes to policies where reasonable, can also improve communication, trust and morale.

What format should the staff handbook take?

Whether the staff handbook is basic or very extensive is up to you. It is preferable for it to be non contractual, to protect you as the employer from being in breach of contract if it is not followed to the letter.

The handbook does not need to be printed or expensively produced. In some cases it may require no more than stapling together various pieces of existing information, or creating a soft-copy pack to be emailed through to employees.

Has your business got a staff handbook? Do you think your staff handbook needs updating? Contact HR That Helps today to find out more about how these documents can create a more efficient and risk-aware business.

Do you have a good policy in place for social media use?

Social media use is increasingly integrated into our lives –and this means that the line between business and personal use are often blurred. You must protect your business by ensuring that you have a sound policy on social media use in place for your employees.

Acas reports it is estimated that “misuse of the internet and social media by workers costs Britain’s economy billions of pounds every year”. You don’t want to risk the profitability, efficiency and reputation of your business by not having a social media policy in place.

What is social media?

Although we’ve all heard of Facebook and Twitter, social media is the term for all online channels where people can interact. These can include image-based smartphone apps such as Instagram or Snapchat, online forums and groups, business-based sites such as LinkedIn, and blogging sites.

This increasing volume of instant, uncontrolled communication can affect relationships between managers, employees and job applicants, as well as how your organisation promotes and controls their reputation.

What needs to be in a social media policy?

Your policy has to set boundaries on behaviour on social media for your managers and employees. You need to include what is and what is not acceptable for general behaviour at work, and how people should consider what they post and how it can affect others in their working environment.

The use of social media and technology in general can also distort what boundaries there are between home and work. Consider the use of the internet, emails, smart phones and social media in both work and home for your employees.

What else do I need to consider?

Recruitment – make managers aware that assessing applicants by looking at their social networking pages can be discriminatory and unfair.

Privacy – make employees aware of privacy and security settings on their social media profile. They need to make considered decisions about who from the work environment can view their personal information

Updating other policies: Social media and technology can have a far reaching influence on many of your other business policies. For example, your policy on bullying should be updated to include references to ‘cyber bullying’.

To find out more about what a social media policy should include, contact us today. You can also follow HR That Helps on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for more advice and support on HR for your business.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.