Get to the Bottom of Your Workers’ Social Media Use

9 Jun

HR professionals need to be careful about their social media use policies.

Most businesses and the majority of people are on social media these days, but where do these networking sites fit in to the office? HR departments across the U.S. have found they need to put restrictions on how often workers can access these social sites during the workday using both their personal accounts and the businesses' profiles, causing a popup of social media policies throughout the country. Yet HR professionals may want to tighten their policies or create strict social media guidelines altogether for strategic human resource management.

The Increasing Need for Strict Policies
Social media use within the workplace should be a common element of employee management strategies. A recent survey by international financial consulting firm Proskauer found many workers are misusing their access to social sites when they are on the clock or were speaking badly about the company online. For its "Social Media in the Workplace Around the World 3.0" report, the company built on its previous two studies on social media use in the workplace to examine how social media and business continue to interact.

The latest survey received responses from 110 companies, and found the vast majority (90 percent) have a presence on social media. However, social media misuse among workers is rising, as 70 percent said they have had to take disciplinary measures against employees for the abuse of these sites. Because of this growing issue, more than half of companies said they decided to update their existing policies within the past year. In addition, 80 percent of companies said they now have social media policies, which is up from 60 percent last year. 

Most of these policies now have measures in place to address harassment of co-workers on social media sites, the distribution of confidential business information on the Internet and negative speech about the company on social channels. Many of these measures may be warranted in certain instances, as Workforce magazine reported in 2012 that many workers share sensitive information about their companies online.

HR professionals may want to note, however, that they need to be careful how they monitor employees' social media use. According to the survey, employers don't have the right to look at workers' personal devices, while they may monitor social use through the company's computers. HR professionals should also examine employment legislation before they adopt an employee management strategy to ensure they are remaining within their legal abilities. 

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