A Realistic Social Media Policy Keeps Employees Happy and Motivated

A Realistic Social Media Policy Keeps Employees Happy and Motivated

Social media has practically exploded over the past few years. Every Internet savvy person has a Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn account if not Instagram and Pinterest – and this doesn’t even begin to cover the whole cartload of social networking options that dot the World Wide Web today.

But what is of primary concern to employers all over the world is the increasing use of social media at workplaces. So addicted are people to their networks that not taking a sneak peek or making a hasty post whenever an opportunity presents itself is fast becoming a tough order for most. In fact, folks take their social media presence so seriously that there have been cases where potential recruits have declined positions in organizations due to restrictive social media policies.

The way social media has gotten integrated into different aspects of our lives, companies cannot afford to ignore it. As for employees, social connectivity at work is fast becoming as essential as their appraisal process, leave rules, clean weekends and job perks.

Thus, for organizations, it is absolutely important to chalk out a realistic social media policy that adds to the happiness and motivation of the employees, without excessive monitoring and towering controls. Done the right way, an organization’s attitude towards social media policy can play an important role in furthering its goodwill among employees.


Building Blocks Of A Realistic & Liberal Social Media Policy
The key elements of workplace social media policy should focus on employee motivation along with an acceptance of what’s realistic and what’s too risqué. The cornerstone is mutual respect between the employer and the employee. Of late, fear of social media is making more and more employers needlessly nosy.

Mentioned here are some basic building blocks that could work as guidelines while drafting a social media policy:

Make Employee Privacy Sacrosanct
The first principle should be to establish trust. Employees should never be coerced into disclosing passwords to their personal social media accounts. There’s also the need of protecting sensitive employee information from other employees, say, the company’s social media management team. Such data could include private information like medical records, leave requests, pan card and social security numbers, date of birth, etc. Access to such information should be limited to only a handful of HR representatives and that too only with specific logins.

Ensure Organizational Confidentiality
Every organization’s social media policy should carry a clause restricting employees from revealing sensitive/ confidential employer information on social network platforms. This could include business documents, sales plans, legal documents, stock-impacting information, database of company clients (especially for service industries) and more.

Practice Freedom & Transparency
Organizations are increasingly falling into the malpractice of pressurizing workers to tweet or promote the company’s products and ideas through the employees’ personal accounts. This is against professional ethics and companies should refrain from this practice. Something like this should be left to the will and the choice of employees.

Similarly, it is also important that employees be impressed with the need for utmost honesty and transparency while tweeting in their official capacities. While promoting a company offering, they need to spell out their affiliation on the social media platform. Also, they should double check their facts and figures before making any official tweet – a good idea may be to incorporate some sort of filter in the form of a senior company employee or a team that might clear tweets for accuracy and content.

Don’t Use Employees’ Walls As Promotion Boards
Employers sometimes end up treating their workers’ social media pages as company property. It is not uncommon to find organizational promotional messages on employee walls and twitter profiles. It is imperative for employers to understand that a person’s social media account is his private asset; posting on it without express permission is as bad as an illegal occupation. If employees are posting on each other’s walls, it should only be in personal capacity.

Don’t Put Excessive Curbs On Employee Posts
Desist from curbing the free opinions of your employees, unless of course, it is directly threatening the organization. Praising a rival company’s certain practice or decision is a healthy practice and bosses should not pass judgments or pull up employees on such posts. Liberal and open organizations should actually have policy clauses that deter such behavior from superiors towards juniors.

Say ‘No’ To Online Stalking
Another fear that is increasingly taking hold of employees is online monitoring of their social media activity by employers. If the organization has a reputation for extreme monitoring, it is likely to make workers feel caged and watched, quite like the poor people in George Orwell’s classic, 1984. This is likely to promote defensiveness while also discouraging free flow of ideas and exchange of information. It can also lead to employees thinking twice about posting harmless information like plans for family holiday or when they intend taking leave.

No Compromise On Work Productivity & Efficiency
Finally and most importantly, you need to let your workforce know that while you respect their need for social connectivity, the employees also need to respect their commitment to the organization. A realistic social media policy should clearly outline that although employees can access and use social media platforms from office, they cannot allow their efficiency levels to go down. Emphasize on time management and organizational expectations from individual roles.

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