Every week there seems to be a new story about employees misusing social media – regardless of industry or role… whether they’re a Premiership footballer, CEO of a software agency or a flight attendant.

The role of social media has blurred the lines between our personal and professional lives and behind each of these stories is a business who’s sadly been damaged by the online conduct of an employee.

With the flight attendant story, Simonetti  reportedly wrote a blog where she posted photos of herself in unbuttoned uniform and leaning over aircraft seats showing parts of her underwear which ultimately resulted in her dismissal.
However this throws up a real problem for employers… would you feel comfortable handling such a situation? Would your managers? How would their colleagues treat them before the investigation was resolved?

You should be aware that Employment Tribunal rulings show employees’ misuse of social media doesn’t always constitute gross misconduct and summary dismissal (not a fair dismissal anyway).

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However don’t worry – there are some steps you can take to make sure you’re not at risk of having to deal with these difficult  decisions.

  1. Most importantly you should have a social networking policy
  2. Avoid jargon in your policy – remember managers do not have the time to read endless pages of complicated policies and procedures
  3. Be specific yet draft your policy to cover new technology and forms of social media not yet created
  4. Regularly review your policy
  5. Treat any allegation of breach of policy in a fair and reasonable manner
  6. Good communication is essential to prevent situations that can damage your business reputation so help staff understand the impact their actions can have.

Social media is a great tool for helping businesses grow and through this approach our clients have found they can concentrate on using it to engage with customers and not worry by reducing the risk of damaging incidents happening in the first place.

[1] Simonetti v Delta Air Lines – http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/16/business/16pose.html?_r=2

Find out more about Danielle Platten and HR Angels Consultancy on their website: http://www.hrangelsconsultancy.com/

For a Social Networking Policy Package from Danielle, email her now on danielle@hrangelsconsultancy.co.uk to put yours into place.

Quote: KOO1410 you will get your policy for £49!