Social Media – friend or foe of employers?

3 Minutes

Despite the significant marketing advantages that social media has brought, navigating it in the context of our employees can be tricky.

Whilst most people are a little more savvy about the does and don’ts of posting in the public domain there are still those who feel their privacy settings and restrictions allow them to post and message content that undoubtedly they wouldn’t share directly with their boss.

If you’ve encountered such a situation, you’re well aware of the challenges it can pose. Here’s an overview of how to handle it.

Gather evidence
If a team member has alerted you to the situation, particularly one involving derogatory or offensive remarks about customers, colleagues or the business, your first step is to gather the evidence. It’s essential that you obtain screenshots of the offending messages along with any relevant context before it can be deleted.

Convene fact finding meetings
Following this arrange investigation meetings. Does the post or message suggest others might have some valuable insight? Consider whether it would be beneficial to hear from them before addressing the employee who made the troubling post/messages.

Open the dialogue
Once you’ve gathered the necessary evidence and have a clear understanding of the broader picture, it’s time to have a conversation with the employee responsible for the post. There’s no need to provide advance notice of this meeting and you aren’t obliged to offer the right to be accompanied at this meeting.

Present the facts you have collected and ask for an explanation. Let them do the talking with you just encouraging them to share their perspective while also probing for details to gain a comprehensive understanding of what motivated the post. Bear in mind that there might be unexpected explanations, so keep an open mind and be prepared to follow up with other witnesses to gather further information if necessary.

Crucial to navigating this situation are the relevant policies. Start by referring to your Disciplinary and Social Media policies, at a minimum, to ensure you adhere to the correct procedures and to help you determine if any rules have been broken. Assuming this is the case you may consider proceeding to a disciplinary meeting next.

If you’re facing this or any other tricky employee situation please call me for a no obligation chat on 07469 872015