Can — and Should — You Monitor Your Employees’ Personal Social Media?
Corporate social media accounts are hard enough to manage without getting into trouble, but what about employees’ personal use of Twitter, Instagram or Facebook?
A dozen states have passed laws recently that strictly prohibit employers from accessing their employees’ personal social media accounts, writes Charles Coy, Cornerstone OnDemand’s senior director of analyst and community relations. But companies operating in 38 other states without a clear-cut ban are rightfully confused about what they can or can’t do when it comes to managing what employees say or do on LinkedIn, YouTube or any other of the countless social media sites that double as public soapboxes.
Coy compiled six guidelines from lawyers and employment experts:
- Keep business in one place and personal life in another with separate professional and personal accounts.
- Reinforce that company secrets are only for company employees to know; they are not to be shared on social media.
- Establish an open environment of honesty and trust for employees to admit when mistakes happen on social media.
- Let employees make the choice about promoting the company on their personal accounts, rather than forcing them (or even asking them) to do so.
- Create formal exceptions that allow employers to access social media accounts in extreme situations, such as workplace investigations.
- Specify who owns corporate social media accounts from the get-go to avoid any confusion later on about whether a specific employee has the right to manage the accounts. Make management the official owners of the account information and content.
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