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Why every business needs a social media policy

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With a large percentage of the population being avid social media users it’s safe to assume that some, if not all, of your employees have an online persona. It’s probable that you have even put the most socially savvy of them in charge of your own business social media accounts, to manage your brand reputation online.

Whilst it’s advantageous for your business to have a team proficient in digital communication skills, it can become a problem if an employee overshares online or impulsively pushes a highly inappropriate photo out to their extended network.

Since the dawn of social media, we have seen several faux pas play out. From big brand cringe moments like when an HMV employee live tweeted from the brand account about a company restructure with mass redundancies. To celebrities losing jobs or opportunities after making controversial comments online, most recently including Roseanne Barr, Kevin Hart and Danny Baker.

With the world so easily accessible at employee’s fingertips, how can you maintain your brand reputation and protect your business from being caught up in an awkward situation?

Protect your business with a social media policy

Although you cannot manage what employees are sharing on their personal social media accounts, you can set rules regarding usage at work and provide guidance on expected behaviors online.

Your policy can remind employees that their actions reflect on your business and that impulsive or thoughtless posts could get them in to trouble at work.

What should be included in a social media policy?

Usage – Unless being active on social media is essential to an employee’s role, it’s a good idea to make it clear in your policy that personal use during working hours is not permitted.

Confidentiality – You’ll certainly want to restrict employees sharing or publicly discussing any confidential details related to your business. Specifically, any trade secrets or financial, operational or legal information.

Boundaries – Set boundaries for employees and explain that discriminatory posts by them on social media will not be tolerated and could be classed as gross misconduct.

You can also ask them to add a disclaimer to their personal profiles which reminds other users that the employee is an individual and their posts are not a representation of their employer.

Representation – If you have employees in charge of your business social media accounts, it would be wise to mention this specifically in your policy. Provide guidelines on what is and isn’t appropriate for the business account and mention that any mismanagement will be in breach of the company social media policy.

How does a social media policy work?

The policy makes your expectations on social media activity clear to employees. It must also point out consequences and processes in the event of a policy breach. By implementing and following official processes you can protect yourself and your business if ever taken to an  Fair Work tribunal.

Some difficult conversations can arise from addressing conflict, so if you would like to know what you can do rather than what you can’t, get in touch with your local HR Dept today. We’ll give you peace of mind so that you can move forward with the best decisions for your business.

An employee is looking for another job. What can I do about it?

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Times have changed since most employees would stick to one job throughout their career, looking forward to their retirement gift. The job market has developed and moved on.

Age can remain a factor with some employees content sticking with one employer. But younger generations, such as millennials and below, are already accustomed to scouring opportunities for greener grass.

When you discover that an employee is looking for another job, whether they openly told you themselves or you found out some other way, it can instigate reflection: “What is it they’re unhappy with? What can I do with this information? Can I begin looking for a replacement?”.

Perhaps you already suspected that they were unhappy. You may even be relieved if your employment relationship has been a trying one. But when it’s a top performer who is well liked by management and co-workers, you’ll likely be pondering what it is that’s made them look elsewhere.

It’s important to remember that between three to five years is quite a normal length of employment these days, so it could just be a natural time for an employee to move on. But if you are experiencing less than this on a regular basis, you may want to review your employee retention strategy.

What can you do when you learn of an employee looking for another job?

As you’d expect, there is good and bad practice that you could follow. So let’s look at some tips to take on board and pitfalls to avoid.

Have a contingency plan.

It’s not a bad idea to assume that most of your employees at any given time could be looking for another job. This can help you to consistently develop their working environment and form a contingency plan. Review draft job specs regularly as your business grows and build a knowledge base of useful information that could be made readily available to a new hire.

Don’t jump the gun.

Before you go and ask them when their leaving date is, remember that they haven’t officially handed their notice in yet. Presuming a resignation can be risky. It would be best to schedule a 121 with the employee to discuss their workload or suss out happiness levels to get a better idea of the situation.

If they told you they were looking elsewhere, be open with them and ask them if they still feel this way. It may have been heated and they could have changed their mind. If you found out some other way, don’t ask them outright. Try some open-ended questions to better understand their position.

Move on and gain from it.

Accept that sometimes they just need to move on. Sometimes people need to move on for career progression and you might not have an available opportunity for them. In addition, keeping an employee who doesn’t really want to be there can end up being detrimental to your business and disturb the culture.

When they do leave be sure to conduct an exit interview. This can be hugely beneficial intel for you. It can help you to understand who else in the company might be feeling a similar way and if there is anything you want to do about it.

Ask the experts.

Making sudden moves can be risky in a situation such as this. You’ll want to steer clear of anything that could instigate a claim for unfair dismissal. If you want to find out what you can do rather than what you can’t, speak to your local HR Dept today.