Trending Now: How Employers Deal with Workplace Social Media Use

Reports show that approximately 81% of the U.S. population has a social media profile of one kind or another, and for that reason, workplace social media use has become a norm. The use of social media in the workplace presents issues that many employers are grappling with—from decreases in productivity to harassment risks as well as brand and image concerns. The following is an outline of some of the potential risks of workplace social media use with solutions to help your company avoid the common pitfalls.

Risks Associated With Workplace Social Media Use:

Decreased Productivity—If your employees are spending time reading their Facebook feed or posting images to Instagram, they are not working. This can decrease productivity and infuriate hard-working managers and co-workers who notice the behavior.

In the past, corporations attempted to block these sites with internal firewalls. Today, however, this simply drives the employee to his or her smartphone. The key to dealing with workplace social media use from the perspective of the employer is to accept that it is going to happen, just like a personal phone call or a break for a personal conversation at the water cooler.

Employee productivity and performance should be measured and routinely reviewed based on output, not time spent on the task. Additionally, it is important to include a social media policy in the employee handbook to cover any abuses. This creates a realistic expectation and a respectful working environment for your employees, rather than a restrictive, non-trusting one.

Employee Harassment Issues—As cyberbullying, sexual harassment and other kinds of harassment finds new channels of access on social media, employers are forced to take proactive measures against this kind of behavior. By incorporating social media, texting and other forms of electronic communication into their harassment policy and corresponding training, employers can attempt to offset this behavior. Effectively addressing inappropriate behavior will protect employers from liability if the issue occurs.

Brand and Image Concerns—There have been many famous cases of companies that have faced brand issues due to employee social media behavior. For the PR firm, Ketchum, a seemingly innocent political tweet from the vice president’s personal Twitter account ticked off their top client enough to leave the firm. In the case of J.K. Rowling’s recent book penned under a different name, a leak on Twitter from an employee at her law firm released the secret to the public. Of course, disgruntled employees create a slew of issues resulting in reputation and recruiting nightmares for companies. It bears serious consideration just how much your employees can create potential risk for your company through social media.

Workplace social media use is par for the course in today’s digital age. The key for employers is dealing with it in a proactive and positive communication plan. Outlining clear policies and providing training to employees will set your team up for success as well as provide your organization avenues for addressing issues should social media be used inappropriately.

Oasis Outsourcing, the nation’s largest privately held professional employer organizations, can help you with all your human resources needs—from setting employee policy to dealing with conflict, disciplinary issues as well as a complete range of HR services.

Contact Oasis today for a customized plan for your business.

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