Should employees be encouraged to use social networking to enhance business outreach? Or will such activity impede productivity, increase reputational risk, and most importantly increase liability issues? These and other questions are clearly on the minds of today’s management.
Recent research conducted with Russell Herder found eight in 10 businesses have concerns about the potential liabilities of social media. Yet, only one-third have a policy in place to govern social media use, and just 10 percent said they have conducted relevant employee training.
Instead of ignoring the need for responsible guidelines, organizations of all sizes should begin to define their strategy regarding social media, and most importantly, the rules for employee engagement. By doing so, management can take advantage of the benefits offered by these new communication channels while mitigating undue risk. But remember, social media is a far different animal than traditional technology. A company’s current policies on IT matters are usually not sufficient.
All companies are different, thus the rules for creating and implementing a social media policy are not universal. They must take the form, substance, philosophy and culture of the organization to which they apply. However, the following are some important elements to include in a good social media policy: