Social media has opened the door to many new concerns for companies and organizations around the world—and the concerns are justified. The water cooler talk has moved online into the social media space. According to researchers, the number of employers monitoring workers’ social media activity is expected to grow.
The most common concerns for companies of all sizes are:
- Focus and Productivity. Is my staff AWOL while working? Are they tweeting and chatting while at work? Are they updating their Facebook status while driving the company car? Is this a liability to my company? All legitimate concerns for the company.
- PR and Reputation Management. Nowadays, some employees think they can say any and everything about their employer, their job, and their co-workers in the perceived safety of the social media space. Where does freedom of speech start and stop? For this reason, corporate communications and media relations get sticky, because what started as a social media rant can turn into a public relations fiasco.
- Private Data and Disclosures. How many times has confidential information been leaked or spread throughout a company or industry? With social media, expect more of that without attentive tracking of employee social media activities.
As an employer, you have valid concerns; however, you can’t violate a person’s privacy or freedom of speech. A social media consulting firm is the essential step in helping your company create a justifiable, legal approach to monitoring employees’ use of social media. Meanwhile, here are a few tips to get you started:
- Create and distribute a comprehensive social media guide
- Monitor employee use of equipment and activities during work hours
- Do not use social media to spy on people’s personal lives (especially as it relates to gender, age, race, and their personal choices)
- Be sure to investigate debatable uses of social media in violation of working hours and access
- Implement an alert system designed to notify users of specific mention of your company and company projects
- Do not ask employees for their social media passwords
Don’t be sneaky with it. Monitoring is not a problem. Employees understand monitoring systems, as they’ve been active and instrumental in quality assurance training and corporate policy for years.