Many companies choose to monitor the social media usage of their employees so that they can ensure that no confidential information is leaked. Monitoring is also done to prevent their employees from posting negative material online which may harm the company’s reputation. Additionally, HR may use social media to evaluate a candidate. But is it really easy to monitor what your employee is posting on social media? Should you do it at all?
The Challenges of Monitoring Your Employees Online
The sharing of controversial ideas related to politics, race, or religion can cause problems both for the employers and the employees. It may ultimately lead to serious legal consequences and the reputation of the company could suffer. Companies may monitor the online activities of their workers to make sure that they do not carry out objectionable activities online. But monitoring online profiles isn’t that straightforward; dummy accounts can easily set up using different names or even identities. Additionally, you cannot always be sure whether or not the content on a worker’s page is genuine. Hacking is a problem that even big organizations face on a regular basis. An imposter account can also be mistaken for an employee’s real account.
From a company culture standpoint, constant or overzealous monitoring of your employees may hinder them from being creative and hamper their ability to naturally advocate for your company. Strict social monitoring may also damage the relationship of trust between the employers and their employees.
If you are going to monitor social feeds, it must be done in a way that doesn’t interfere with overall employee loyalty and engagement.
Tips for monitoring your employees on social media
The number of workers fired as a result of social media posts is on the rise. Racist, culturally insensitive, or threatening comments can easily lead to the termination of an employee. At times, workers find themselves in trouble just for making minor complaints about their workplace.
If you have decided that monitoring your employees on social media is necessary, the following tips may come in handy:
Make your employees completely aware of what kind of online behavior is expected from them. They may unintentionally post something that could lead to problems for them and the company, but the risk of this happening can be greatly reduced by constructing a well defined social media policy which can be easily understood by all.
Ensure that any social media policy is 100% consistent with existing policies and procedures, as well as any other specific laws and regulations that may be applicable to your business.
Since smartphones are now the norm, you may need to incorporate provisions on this into either your social media policy or other technology policy.
Make sure new employees are fully inducted on the rules surrounding social media at work. Consider social media training as part of your on-boarding procedure.
If using social media as part of your business activities, consider having a separate set of rules for those that are authorized to speak on behalf of your company.
Keep in mind, the company’s ‘need to know’ may be great, but so is your employee’s privacy. Make sure your social media policy is flexible enough to address small infractions or ‘grey areas’ in a way that doesn’t result in overreactions in terms of consequences.
Whether you monitor or not, having a very clear and concise social media policy is crucial. Check out these examples.