Social media policies a must for reputational protection


Employers must protect their business' reputation through the use of internet policies, reports Fresh Business Thinking.

It's advice that the CEO of any business should heed: put a social media policy in place to govern what employees can upload to the internet, in case it causes any reputational damage.

The call is particularly pertinent at this time of year, with the possibility of 'exuberant' Christmas party photos being shared on Facebook or drunken anecdotes getting uploaded to Twitter.

It's a modern phenomenon, but one that is becoming increasingly more relevant, hence the need for more stringent procedures to prevent the posting of potentially harmful content on the internet.

A survey of 1,000 small and medium-sized businesses by support specialists ELAS found that 65 per cent of employers did not have any such policy in place, leaving staff unaware of what what acceptable online behaviour.

Businesses are being advised to "own and not fear" social media. A policy outlining what is appropriate and what constitutes misconduct will demonstrate they have a handle on it, People Management revealed.

According to ELAS' head of employment law, Peter Mooney, the issue is that content can be loaded and cause damage long before an employer finds out. 

The second problem is that many employers may believe that what staff do and say on their social networks is none of their business - but this is not so when it involves the company. 

"Employers are well within their rights to remind staff that they are ambassadors for their companies around the clock and make clear that anything which brings the business into disrepute cannot be tolerated," Mr Mooney added.

"If they don't, then what starter out as a bit of fun between colleagues at a Christmas party can quickly become a damaging and uncontrollable storm which leaves your company's good name in tatters."

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