Social Media Use – the Good and Bad
Employee use of social media is pretty much a given. While Facebook has begun to feel a bit passé, particularly now we have Metaverse, it still has 2.89 billion users. That’s nearly 40% of the entire world’s population! We’re one of them now at www.facebook.com/FixHR. While social media can be an excellent tool to help market your brand, our clients have experienced some of its downsides:
- Employees spending time on social media during work hours, i.e. they aren’t working.
- Current or previous employees using the platform to disparage the business or intimidate other employees.
- The impact of fake news and the misinformation ‘infodemic’ are difficult to manage in the workplace.
Having an internet policy reminds employees to behave responsibly online and sets the rules for any personal internet use at work. Remind your staff about privacy requirements, especially if they are emailing and sharing information, and remind them to protect passwords. Allowing some personal tasks to be done online can help employees manage their lives more effectively and get back to work quicker. However, as an employer it’s important to monitor use of workplace technology.
Monitoring and Privacy
Please note, it’s OK for you to investigate employee use of social media and workplace technology within the bounds of employment and privacy laws. Examples of how social media can be useful are:
- Carrying out a social media search as part of pre-employment checks.
- Providing evidence of misconduct in staff disciplinary investigations.
- Evidencing someone ‘pulling a sickie’ and to question a sick leave request.
New Zealand has had many cases in mediation and the Employment Court where the use of social media has contributed significantly to the issues. Health and safety compliance can also require you to investigate the use of social media if online bullying and harassment is suspected or claimed.
As with all employment-related matters you must deal with your staff in good faith. Therefore make sure they know you monitor workplace technology. FixHR provides guidelines and robust policies about employee use of social media so there are no surprises.
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Some further useful resources can be found here for kicking off your business’ social media journey, and this link has comprehensive advice on cyber security and a platform to report online scams and misinformation. Netsafe provides independent, free and confidential advice and support in New Zealand related to online safety.
Contact us if you have any questions or need help with social media issues in your workplace.