In an age where electronic communication is expanding through the use of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, companies are confronted with the consequences that social media can have on workplace relations and company image.
What happens outside work?
Social media in the workplace can be a valuable tool for businesses by way of promotion and marketing, however it can also cause serious problems when employees choose to post outbursts on the internet potentially defaming businesses and diminishing reputations.
It is becoming increasingly clear that employers need to do more to prevent employees posting defamatory content (not just work-related) on social media sites. Recently a leading London law firm had to suspend one of its senior associates when he posted a number of abusive messages over Europe’s refugee crisis on his personal twitter account.
Impose a policy
All employers should have a social media policy, but it is especially important for those who have a presence on social media, or rely on it for business purposes. It is equally important if employees identify themselves on social media as working for the company, or if they use social media as a marketing tool for their job.
It will be easier for employers to take action against an employee for inappropriate social media use if they have a social media policy in place. A good policy will educate employees on the purpose of the policy, what sort of behaviour is not tolerated, and that disciplinary action may be a consequence of any breaches of the policy. It is also vital that employees are aware of the existence of the policy and how they can access it.
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