Social media misconduct has become an increasingly pressing issue in the workplace today. As the use of social media has rapidly increased, employees often forget that their public posts can have a significant impact on the reputation of their employer. Correspondingly, we advise that businesses be proactive in their approach to preventing and managing any potential social media transgressions and investigate any instances of misconduct fairly.
Social media misconduct occurs when employees use their public channels to make inappropriate comments, post offensive content, or engage in activities that could be damaging to their employer’s brand. These violations can range from simple mistakes made by novices to intentional attempts to undermine a company’s online presence. The consequences of such infractions can be profound and far-reaching, resulting in loss of business, loss of productivity, understaffing issues, low workplace morale, legal troubles, costly litigation, and more.
In addition to this, there is also the risk of workplace disruption due to the spread of false information, cyberbullying, harassment, and other unprofessional activities. All of these factors can have a considerable negative effect on morale and productivity in the office, which can further impact the organization’s overall performance. It is an employee’s duty of care to protect and uphold an employer’s reputation and best interest, applicable to both internal and external activities and communications. As demonstrated in the article ‘Employee Dismissed for Attending Anti-Vax Protest’, a breach of this nature can be grounds for serious misconduct, resulting in employee disciplinary action OR termination.
To prevent social media misconduct in the workplace, employers can:
- Take a proactive approach to establishing clear policies and procedures that define an employee’s responsibilities ‘privately’ and as an ‘employee’, with the repercussions for misconduct clearly stated.
- Regularly update and review policies and procedures in response to changing trends in social applications.
- Train employees on the proper use of social media and associated misconduct.
- Encourage employees to report violations.
- Implement online monitoring software and employee ‘social’ checks. This allows the employer to identify misconduct such as, business slandering, and bullying and harassment between employees on social platforms.
By taking these proactive steps, companies will be able to minimize the risks of social media misconduct in their workplace, protecting their brands and avoiding any potential legal repercussions. While it may be difficult to monitor every single post, employers must make sure that policies are clear and consistently enforced to ensure that employees are not putting the company’s reputation at risk.
If your business needs to update current social media policies and procedures, the AHR Team can advise and show you how to do this or we can do it for you. In addition, we can take these updated policies and assist you to re-induct employees, and/or we can provide you with our ‘Social Media Misconduct Training’ which can be conducted online or face to face, and with or without our delivery. If you have any further inquiries in the space, please call us today and speak with one of our team on 1800 577 515.