How can employers manage their risks with employee usage of social media?

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  • DO NOT “friend” or “follow” employees or managers online
  • DO NOT recommend employees on LinkedIn or other business sites
  • DO NOT post pictures of the workplace, coworkers, or customers (without advance express written permission)
  • DO make sure that your data security is well controlled (both physical and electronic security)
  • DO follow up on employee work complaints posted on social networks to improve the situation, not to punish the employee.
  • DO talk with your employment attorney prior to any termination of employment action for social media comments or information disclosures.
  • DO check the social media sites where your company is discussed.  DO NOT spy on your employees.
  • DO make sure that you have strong restrictive covenants regarding nondisclosure, non-solicitation of customers and employees and noncompetition (where allowed).
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How can businesses integrate social media as part of an active health and wellness program?

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1. Post regular quizzes, trivia, Q&A sessions, and other fun educational tools.

2. Promote events and activities.

3. Hold friendly contests

4. Try out third-party platforms for a more personalized experience.

5. Create groups or boards

6. Offer discounts, congratulations, time off, or other rewards.

8. Share success stories.

9. Use your resources.

In short, social media networking brings a host of advantages to your health and wellness program that more traditional approaches simply don’t offer.  With some creative incentives and careful management – including a clear use policy and well-defined privacy guidelines – the right network can transform your current workplace into an active, dynamic social community.

Social Media & the Workplace – 3 Tips for Success

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1. Keep it professional: Social media is a great resource for doing some networking, getting your news, and just about everything in between, but keep in mind that as a professional, everything you post on your personal pages could come under scrutiny at work. Keep your content appropriate and friendly, never complain about work, supervisors or coworkers, and use it as an opportunity to convey positive messages.

2. Utilize it on your own time: Social media platforms are literally available at our finger tips, and while they are easily accessible, this doesn’t mean that they should be accessed any time you feel like it. Try to keep your online activities work related while at the office, and if you do feel the need to update a status or send a tweet, do so only on breaks.

3. Be familiar with your company policy: Every company will have a different set of rules in relation to their social media activities. The best way to prepare yourself is to have a thorough understanding of your individual organization’s policies. If your company has a ban on all social media sites, don’t risk updating that status as it could cost you your job. Social media is exciting; it allows us to remain constantly plugged into the world and those around us, but keep in mind that there is a time and a place for everything, and social media may not always be an appropriate workplace activity. Use good judgment and always be professional, and you will be on your way to social media success.

Legal Perspective: Social Media In The Workplace

Benefits

  1. Improves Branding
  2. Increase sales
  3. ROI for recruitment strategy

Disadvantages:

  1. Can cause damage to reputation (for employers are saying offensive things or not factual about their companies)
  2. Decrease in productivity (more time online instead of doing the job)

Presented as both a legal and social issue, once someone puts something out on social media, they can’t take it down, and whatever is put out can possibly stand as a bad representation of the company if a person’s content is controversial, if they are misbehaving in some way, or otherwise leaves a bad impression.

Putting aside for a moment that one of the reported reasons that employees use social media in the workplace is boredom or lack of fulfillment on the job, (and what role a company can play in decreasing those cases), there is the social issue… rather a rights issue.

Benefits of interaction within the global marketplace

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Fostering employee camaraderie – Many social networking sites, like LinkedIn have company groups where employees can join, share stories and get to know their coworkers better.

Identifying business opportunities — Business development and sales professionals can source leads and develop professional relationships through networking sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn.

Recruiting potential candidates — Companies are increasingly turning to social media as a source for new employees. While an excellent tool for human resources and line managers.

Presenting a positive company image — While it is important to set guidelines, having employees engaging in online social communities is a great way to promote your brand. As long as comments are not disparaging towards competitors or divulge company information, your employees can be excellent brand ambassadors.

Foster morale and company loyalty — When employees are given a sense of freedom and ownership, more often than not they respect boundaries and manage their time accordingly. They may check social media before or after work or during their lunch break. As long as usage does not become excessive, allowing employees some liberties can improve motivation and morale.

While it is essential for companies to have a social media and internet policy, the pros of workplace access outweigh the cons. Managers should enjoys the benefits of increased exposure and interaction within the online global marketplace.

The good, the bad, and the ugly of workplace social media use

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The good: One benefit Facebook offers for business is it lets the customers and potential clients know your company on a personal level. Clients come to you for a relationship. They assume you know how to take care of their needs. Being accessible on social media sites helps your clients and customers feel connected to your company.

A Facebook page can also help bring people to your website. Customers will look for your presence on the Internet and a Facebook profile is just another way they can find you, leading them to your website to find out more information and possibly contact you.

Facebook can be a tremendous networking tool. In addition, if you have a Facebook business page link on the opening page of your website, potential clients can feel that they know you and your office before coming in for their new customer experience.  Several companies have gained new clients simply because of their Facebook page.

The bad: A recent study of companies with 1,000 employees found that 8% of their employees have actually been dismissed for their behavior on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn.  That’s double from the previous year! Companies have also fired employees for sharing sensitive details about the business and their clients.  In addition, team members have been sanctioned and fired for making unprofessional remarks about their boss via social networking sites.

The Ugly: Realize that even if you use Facebook privacy settings, you may still be in danger. Remember going to high school and doing things you thought your parents would never know about and yet somehow they always found out? The same is true of social media. Avoid bad -mouthing your boss, co-worker or anyone in your professional life in such a public way on a public forum.

Every business should have specific guidelines that apply to social media use.  There are two factors at work here: employers need to be closely monitoring social media sites and employees need to use common sense when posting about work life.  Employees need to be careful about sharing sensitive information as well as making foolish remarks about their employer.

The owner needs to set the vision and goals for the office regarding social media with the help of the team with the development of a mission-driven ethical use policy.