This could be due to an employee spending excessive amounts of time on social media sites, or employees using their accounts to publish material that could threaten their employer’s reputation.
According to research released by Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange, Americans aged 18 to 34 spend more than 3.4 hours on social media sites daily. Some of those minutes, maybe even hours, are potentially spent while your employees are on the clock for your company.
Many companies are learning how to develop a social media check policy to ensure they’re protecting the fundamentals and values of their company.
How Do I Create a Social Media Policy?
To keep “order” when it comes to social media usage, you’ll need to create a set of guidelines for employees, including management, to follow. Policies should encompass all aspects of social media, including when it can be used while at work, what can be posted, social media etiquette when employees are at work or away from work, and even employee associations to your company.
There are no set rules that every policy has to have, but here are a few things to consider when creating your policy:
Don’t ban social media access completely. After all, almost everyone has a smartphone that can access social media. You may end up encouraging more wasted time by forcing employees to step away from their desks to get their social fix.
Instead, you could make a policy that says employees shall not be on social media while working unless it pertains to work. If an employee wishes to access social media on their phone or computer, they must wait until they’ve clocked out on a break or until the end of the day.
It may seem extreme to some of your employees, but for your company it could mean more work completed and more money earned.
Involve your employees and management team. When creating a policy that affects your entire team, getting feedback from team members can help you create a policy that will be followed.
Ask team members to describe their ideal social media policy and explain why their policy would work best. Once you’ve gotten feedback from your entire team, decide which rules were most universal and combine those to create your company’s official social media policy.
Team input will create a policy that employees feel is representative of everyone’s feelings towards social media policies.
What Should Be in My Social Media Policy?
You may already have an idea of what kinds of social media policies you’d like to enact at your company. Ensure your policy is comprehensive by considering the many ways that social media may impact your business.
Here are a few guidelines commonly used in social media policies:
- Determine when employees should be allowed to be on social media sites while on the clock.
- Allot time during your employees’ work day to get on social media sites (Ex: 20 minutes per day allotted to social media searching for employees)
- Ban posts with drinking, smoking, profanity, cursing or other obscene activities.
Enforcing Your Social Media Policy
In order for your social media policy to work effectively, you must enforce it. Once you’ve had your policy reviewed by legal professionals and passed out to employees and management, you can set it into motion.
The biggest key to having a successful social media policy is enforcing the rules and guidelines. If an employee breaks policy, there must be a descriptive and uniform procedure for how your company will handle the indiscretion.
Many social media policies provide escalating consequences for employee violations. An example of this escalation might be:
- Warning- let the employee know that they broke policy, and assure them that in order to have a successful work environment, rules must be followed.
- Write-up- A written reprimand can follow the warning. You should explain to your employee that write-ups can lead to more serious consequences.
- Suspension- Continued violations of the policy may be stifled by suspending the employee.
- Termination- An employee that repeatedly violates the policy and/or defames the company through social media may represent a higher cost than benefit to the business. Termination might be the best way to protect your business.
Create an Enjoyable Work Environment
Although suspension and termination are the last resort, enforcing those consequences for not following rules can ultimately create a more stable work environment. When employees know they’ve been included in policies, they’re more likely to abide by rules set in place by management.