WS Writes: I have an employee who is making negative work-related comments on his social media accounts. Whilst he doesn’t mention our name directly, I am concerned that this could eventually have a negative impact of my business. How can I prevent this from continuing?
As social media websites and apps are conquering the world, it is inevitable that some or even most of your employees use some form of social media. The norm to share and upload your thoughts and daily experiences is becoming easier to broadcast across the internet for everyone to see, writes Peter Done, managing director of Peninsula. Many employees may be inclined to also share the views they may have of their job, company, colleagues or even employer. This may be in good favour for the organisation if the employee has a positive view, but it might be something the employer wants to prevent if it brings the company bad publicity.
A Social Media Policy is an effective way to protect your business of unwanted and unfavourable posts. Implementing such policy will set out rules on how employees should present their views on their social media accounts and any consequences in the event that these rules are breached. The policy should set out what behaviour is considered acceptable and what is unacceptable. You should consult and discuss the policy before implementing it, and make any adjustments suggested by your employees so the policy is fair to both sides. Be mindful that the policy should not be completely limiting, as employees might see social media as a platform of free speech. If you want to avoid negative comments and opinions about your company, then it is important to set clear rules on defamation and confidentiality. Make it clear to all employees that making comments which might damage the company’s reputation may result in disciplinary action.
As soon as you are made aware of such negative comments on a social media site, you should collect sufficient evidence of the posts and take action to get them removed to limit the damage it can bring the company. You should conduct an objective investigation, interview witnesses and obtain signed meeting notes or minutes. You should then invite the employee to a disciplinary hearing where they should be allowed to give their response.
If you find that the employee has breached your Social Media policy, then you can take disciplinary action in accordance with your policy. Ensure that you have followed the whole procedure fairly and give the employee the right to an appeal if they do not agree with the outcome.