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Social Media Today dedicates itself to understanding and studying the complexity of new media in our societies. This innovative website, gathers professionals from all around the world, forming a comprehensive community on the dwelings of social networking, advertising, publicity and other subjects.
A recent article by Barry Hurd, a speaker on online business practices, gives insight on the top five questions business owners must ask to completely understand social media policies and how to work with them to their advantage. They often rely on traditional human resources tactics and forget that they too can manage their workers by using online channels.
Who owns it? Hurd brings up the important question: if employees are authorized to post online during work hours or if they must do so as a part of their job, who truly owns the company’s social media policy? Owners should take into account that a laid-off employee can easily take a firm’s mailing list and all of its contacts, causing hundreds of dollars in damages.
One must make proactive decisions regarding online communication and the owner must make sure his or her is its leader and the head of a social channel hierarchy.
Do you have access to all your social accounts 24/7? This topic is also related to leadership and control. One must be in complete control of the communication hierarchy to ensure that there are no leaks and that all of the company’s assets are protected.
Have you identified mission critical paths? Hurd said that a vast array of processes for a social media policy need special supervision, and some have particularities that must be taken into account. Barry Hurd singles out sales, marketing, security breaches, employee/client privacy, investor relations, regulatory concerns, among others:
“Each of these communication processes have mission critical elements that are accelerated by social media usage. In many cases the most immediate requirement is the management of fast and effective communication for senior managers and executive leadership.
In the world of social media policy, many mid-management employees feel they are doing the ‘right thing’ and are unfortunately trying to make decisions in an area of business that they are acting blindly in.”
Are you monitoring your employees for rogue communications? What should you do when an employee disrespects you or a company client? This is a very delicate matter which must be settled using sensible criteria and one must be very careful of its consequences; they could potentially violate someone’s civil rights and liberties.
And finally: Does it influence hire/fire decisions? This question takes into consideration the legal requirements of firing someone based on a comment they made in a social communication channel.
One must take into account the legal precedents involved in such cases, and according to the National Labor Relations Board, ”Our review of cases found many specific policies alleged to be overbroad, including those that restrict discussion of wages, corrective actions and discharge of co-workers, employment investigations, and disparagement of the company or its management.”
They have “only just begun to address these many important issues, and it is, of course, hard to speculate as to how the Board will rule as these cases develop and whether those decisions will withstand judicial scrutiny. It is hoped that this survey can assist employers and counsel identify issues with which they should be aware as they grapple with the application of labor law to employee use of social media.”