Social media is here to stay. As a company, you may have already taken steps to embrace its power and use it to promote your products or services. Hopefully, you have established and trained who in your team is responsible for specific social media platforms. You have set company rules and each staff has acknowledged those by signing a document after a comprehensive training session. If you have employees handling your social media accounts and have not trained them and documented it, you must do so immediately.
Today though we want to discuss employees using their own social media accounts to talk about work, publish announcements and photos about your business. Even though in most cases it will be very positive; there could be legal issues for your business. Employees can make mistake. For instance, one could announce an exciting new contract with a company who had requested a non-disclosure of some sort. They may publish photos taken at work showing items that are supposed to be restricted. We have seen people posting photos with a computer monitor behind them showing a customer’s account opened. Anyone can then zoom in and take note of is shown. Again it does not have to be malicious, it could be a simple human error. Nonetheless the implication for your business can be very negative and the responsibility of the breach will rest on your business not the employee who would often claim a lack of proper training.
So what can you do? If you have a lawyer, we recommend you bring this matter up to his/her attention and ask them to revise your employee manual. They will be able to tell you what the up-to-date law is about what you can ask from your staff when it comes to their actions on their social media platforms. Then schedule a training session on Social Media Engagement and Legal Liability. Have a document describing in details what the company rules are, have everyone sign it, and provide a copy to each employee for their records.
Once a year, remember to do a refresher course or, at the very least, send an email or memo to remind everyone about how their actions on social media can reflect on the business.
Today is a very different business world environment that it was 5 years ago. Companies have to be concerned about online postings from their staff either during work shift or outside working hours. Being prepared will reduce your company’s legal liability and your stress. Also setting the expectations for your employees so that they know what not to do is the right thing to do.