HI, I found this post from World at Work and thought it was worth sharing.


Jonna Contacos-Sawyer and Albert Lee began their session at WorldatWork’s recent Total Rewards conference with a powerful YouTube video on the magnitude and influence of social media. You can view the video here: The main point of the video: Social media is too big for HR professionals to ignore. Companies have a love hate relationship with social media. They love it for recruitment, brand awareness and when it drives sales. They hate it when their employees post negative things about the company on Facebook, when employees waste time at work on social websites and when it attracts negative attention to the company. Studies show that 41% of employees spend on average two hours per day on Facebook while at work. Two hours a day on Facebook? Why and how is this happening? Consider these things: Is the work you give your employees mentally stimulating and engaging? Are you managing their performance? Are they fully aware of their job roles, expectations and goals? If you answered “no” to any of those then the first step should be to ensure that the employee has a clear understanding of their expectations, how they are being evaluated and has set goals What is the problem with electronic communication, in the form of social media, concerning your employees? It is writing that can be stored and shared and cannot be un-said.

THERE IS THE GOOD Recruitment Engagement Increase of sales and leads Customer Service BUT THERE IS ALSO THE BAD Decreased productivity Anonymity Permanence of information AND THE UGLY Terminating an employee in response to a Facebook post they made from their house. Requiring an employee to provide social media information during the hiring process (Maryland just ruled that this is not legal). Can you terminate someone for what they say about the company via social media?

Under Section 7 of The National Labor Relations Act, an employee has the fundamental right to talk about their work whether positive or negative. This means you can’t fire someone for a post they write at home about how much they dislike your organization. There have been countless cases where an employee has been fired and won under protection by this law.

What about terminating someone for being on Facebook for 2 hours a day in the office? You need to be very clear if the termination (or even probation/warning) is about action or content. You can’t fire someone for posting something your company finds offensive if they post during work hours (content). You can, however, fire someone if your company has a clearly defined social media policy and that employee does not adhere to the rules (action). The key here is to be consistent in your claim. CREATING SOCIAL MEDIA GUIDELINES First and foremost, the company must decide what their social media philosophy is. Will they be conservative, (no social media) moderate or liberal (everything permitted). The speaker suggested not banning social media totally as that leads to disgruntled employees who post away about the company during non-working hours. Rather, HR professionals should develop a plan that suits their culture, with help from top executives and IT. Some guidelines include: Define social media for their employees Define the purpose of the policy Get executive buy-in from day one Review their existing policy It is also important for companies to set clear boundaries and repercussions for an employee who does not adhere to the policy. Consistency is key to ensuring employees respect and adherence to the policy.

Suggested Resource: This blog post is a reaction to a session at WorldatWork Total Rewards 2012. For additional information on Kenexa’s products and services, email me:

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  • Also essential to check in with NLRB concerns when making a social media policy or guidelines for employees. The NLRB has just released its third report on social media policies and it strikes down many seemingly innocuous policies as interfering with employees' concerted right to organize. The distinctions are subtle. All restaurants should be looking at their employee guidelines to ensure compliance.

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