The first thing that workplaces need to do is accept that staff ─ especially gen Y and younger ─ will be on social media and will be accessing their phone for messaging and social media during work hours. It’s just how it is. The trick is to ensure that your business has a clear social media policy and standards that clearly outline to staff what your workplace deems appropriate use of social media and what behaviours are not acceptable. Eliminating ambiguity and achieving mutual understanding of social media use in your workplace can be so powerful. It can be rewarding when staff actively work with you to get your message out there.
Policies are great but if staff aren’t engaged and don’t understand the policy, then you’ll be constantly bashing your head against a wall to get staff to comply. Make sure that all your staff ─ and any new staff joining ─ know what is expected of them and be clear on what the consequences are if behaviour is out of line. It’s definitely worth considering annual social media training and regular tips to keep staff in-check with what’s cool and what’s not.
2. Broaden your reach
Did you know that Facebook has more than 1 billion users worldwide? And that more than 5,700 tweets go out every second? Have you thought of broadening your reach and amplifying your message through your staff’s social media networks?
Your staff can be your best and most passionate advocates and can help you reach-out to potential clients and networking groups you never thought of before.
Encourage your staff to share your corporate blogs, newsletters, events and job postings to their networks. Just be clear on what and when to share. Think of it as a free referral system.
3. Be prepared when things go wrong…
Companies need to have some strategies in place that clearly outline what actions need to be taken and what reporting is in place to highlight any social media sagas that can happen. That’s why our first point about having a social media policy, coupled with a risk mitigation plan, is so important.
Your policy would state something like: It’s not okay to use social media to complain about your boss, your clients, your co-workers or bad-mouth your workplace.
If any of your staff choose to go down this path, they could be up for defamation charges. Staff can be terminated from work and can ruin their reputation by posting that late night status update or tweet to vent their frustrations. Vent to your friends and family if you must, or even better, take a deep breath and just let it go. But if you do have a serious concern at work make sure to talk to your manager.
Same goes for sharing any company secrets and client information online. It’s unethical and can get you and your staff in big trouble with the law. Make sure your policy covers this stuff. Make sure your staff think twice before they hit send and teach them to ask themselves: ‘Would my boss be happy to see this on the front page of the newspaper tomorrow morning?’
What to do next?
We know that our lives are spread across the world wide web for everyone to see. If you can set clear boundaries in your workplace and use social media to engage with your staff and potential clients and the community, you’re onto a winning formula.
If you need help getting your HR policies and stuff sorted give HR Staff n’ Stuff a call.