Social Media in the workplace. What’s your policy?

Social media allows people to share information, ideas and views and increasingly employers are encouraging their teams to use social media platforms in their work. However, some estimates report that misuse of the internet and social media by employees costs billions of pounds every year and had resulted in employers having to tackle issues like time theft, defamation, cyber bullying and the invasion of privacy.

Employers ensure that they have a policy setting out what is and what is not acceptable behaviour at work when using the internet, emails, smart phones, and networking websites. The policy should also give clear guidelines for employees on what they can and cannot say about the organisation. Any policy should be clear about the difference between business and private social media and provide examples of what is deemed to be acceptable and unacceptable conduct (in the same way that a disciplinary policy would).

If an employee is expected to represent the business online, they must understand issues such as copyright, defamation and reputational damage. Disciplinary action will be tricky if an employee has not been adequately trained on what the business expects in terms of representation on social media and what is not acceptable.
Disciplinary and Dignity at Work policies should contain references to online activity and the use of social media and make provision for employees to be protected from unwanted activity relating to them personally.

121 has experience of drafting such policies and can be reached on

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