A Social Media Policy Can Reduce Enterprise Risk
New media comes with new risk. Eight years after the launch of Facebook, it is clear that an employer can be at risk because of its employees' activities on social networking websites. Social media can blur the line between personal and professional behavior. An organization can reduce the risk of employer liability by establishing a social media policy for its employees. Some of the issues a code of conduct might address include —
- Ethics: Employees need to know that the company's guidelines for ethical conduct apply to their online as well as offline behavior. Bullying, lying and gossiping are as unacceptable on the Internet as they are around the water cooler.
- Testimonials: A company can be fined for its employees' social media testimonials about its products or services, whether the employer knew about the testimonial or not. Employees need to know the rules about posting product reviews, comments and the like.
- Privacy: Employees should respect their co-workers' privacy and steer clear of publishing their colleagues' personal information. Similarly, the policy should discourage or prohibit employees from posting pictures or videos of their co-workers without permission.
- Access: The policy should specify whether employees are allowed to use social media during work hours using employer-owned computers and network resources. Establishing a clear policy can prevent a situation where employees expect to be paid for time spent reading company blogs and writing on co-workers' walls.
- Consequences: Although it seems obvious that violating a company policy can result in discipline or termination, it's best to spell it out in your code of conduct. Social media guidelines should also put employees on notice of the company's right to monitor use of computer systems to enforce the policy.
Tags: Social Media Compliance