Employers should be aware that their employees are going to be on social media websites, and not just for personal reasons. Thus, it is important to have guidelines for how you expect your employees to conduct themselves online.
Most of the guidelines for online conduct are common sense, but it is better to outline your expectations for your employees than to assume they know how you want them to conduct themselves online. When participating in social networking activities on behalf of your company, employees should:
- Exercise reasonable judgment and be responsible in what they post. They should only make true statements and not mislead others.
- Never disclose confidential or proprietary information online. All ethical rules governing the disclosure of confidential information must be followed.
- In most circumstances, clarify that the employee is speaking on behalf of him/herself and not on behalf of the company.
- Always be respectful. Threatening, abusive, obscene and other disrespectful language or material should be specifically prohibited.
- Take immediate action to correct any errors, including modifying prior posts to indicate you are correcting a mistake.
- Comply with copyright laws. When in doubt, the employee should link to another website, give credit to the original source, or simply not use the material.
- Obtain written permission from authorized managers to use the company’s logo in the employee’s social media identity.
- Understand that there will be disciplinary action taken if the employee fails to follow the company’s policies regarding online behavior.
Although employers will not monitor employees’ use of social media on a daily basis, it is important to have policies in place to protect their company’s reputation. Social networking can be an effective tool for fostering relationships and growing your business, but it can also lead to disastrous consequences if your employees do not act professionally. To learn more about creating social media policies for your employees to follow, contact one of the business attorneys at The Swenson Law Firm.
Obtaining the right advice from the start can significantly increase the likelihood of your business being a success. Contact The Swenson Law Firm for help.