It sounds harsh. Employee stupidity. The truth is that employees can’t navigate every aspect of an employee’s life. And, employees use social media to interact in and outside of the workplace. And these employees often interact with one another using social media outside of the work space. So, what happens when one employee posts something on social media that offends another employee? Is this your responsibility as an employer? It can be.
First, no matter what type of internal and external policy your company lawyer draws up, an employee is bound to slip and use bad judgment when it comes to social media. We all make gaffs and these gaffs are often at our own expense. But as a business owner these gaffs can be at your expense and can even trigger a lawsuit related to a hostile work environment.
As a CEO who deals with both ends of employment on a daily basis, I tell my clients and shopped employees to employ as many education efforts and training seminars as possible to derail weak moments of social media posting from happening. While it is easy to say “don’t post anything you wouldn’t want on the cover of our town’s newspaper,” the standards of what someone thinks is acceptable and others do not vary because we as people vary.
Set up a guideline that is clear as to what type of posts are acceptable and what isn’t. Update this policy often as trends in the social media environment change. Make sure you offer continued education and real-life examples of firings resulting from the use of poor judgment on social media. And talk with your employees about the issues at hand and how legal actions harm the business and their benefits and raise possibilities due to financial strain.
Employers aren’t going to be prevent terrible employee interactions on social media, but we can thwart a lot from happening.
Britanie Olvera, CEO of Building Team Solutions