Human Resources

Social Media Policies: 14 Key Guidelines

Make social media policies a subset of your overall business strategy.

September 07, 2010
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11. Language and behavior

The goal of social media is to be “family friendly” so communication can flow freely. Inform participants that if a conversation takes a step or two downward, the administrator will delete offending words. Also, communicate that people who run on without saying much, or who add unnecessary links will also be edited or deleted.

12. Spam

One petty annoyance of the computer age is spam. Make sure your policy informs users that comments focused on selling a product or service, or comments posted for a purpose of driving traffic to a particular website for personal, political, or monetary gain, will be excluded.

13. Security

Some people avoid participating in social media because they fear their data will be compromised. This is a legitimate concern as hackers continue to find ways to place malicious links in social networking sites and tweets, even those from sources thought to be secure. Attackers can use the sites to mine employee and confidential information. Employees might also unintentionally publish information about products and services that may fail to be compliant with laws and regulations. Consider creating a virtual, fictional individual to serve as the organization’s spokesperson, so real names aren’t used. This also helps eliminate the potential of attackers mining employee information.

14. Social media issues and response

All organizations should designate a person or a team to deal with social media issues, and responses to issues concerning the credit union. Again, this might be a virtual, fictional individual for security reasons.

“Social media is slowly altering the workplace in ways that are being viewed as both beneficial and detrimental within the financial services industry,” notes the council whitepaper. “Policies and guidelines are useful because they give answers to recurring questions as well as guidance to a new environment that continues to evolve and is sometimes confusing to employees and management. Neglecting to write policies and leaving it to common sense is no longer an option.”

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory ( will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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