Social Media and Employment

Social_media_womanWe are all aware of the great use and opening of communication across the world that has been achieved from the use of social media. We also see that this access can create issues in the workplace. When an issue arises with use of social media that causes a conflict in the workplace, it is easy to jump in and want to fix the ‘problem’. How easy is it to do this if the business has no social media policy in place? The answer is that we have seen many cases of unfair dismissal going to Fair Work that have resulted in employees winning an additional payout. This is also ignoring the huge cost to the business in employee conflict, lost productivity and engagement or morale.

I said it at home on my personal account!

The boundaries between work and home are being blurred. Almost every employee has a smart phone and is probably checking their personal social media pages at some point in the day. The business also probably uses many different social media platforms. This is causing a murky problem of where the boundaries lie. Can the personal page be linked to the business page?

But I am being cyber stalked!

What happens when employees have a conflict and this spills out to their personal pages? It is also important that a business and employer ensures that they do not inadvertently become party to workplace bullying. As much as a policy will dissuade employees making negative comments, it should also clearly outline what is unacceptable behaviour of ‘trolling’ or cyber stalking of other employees. An employer should make sure they always investigate both sides of the story before pursing any course of action associated with posting of comments on social media.

Why do I need a policy?

If an employer attempts to undertake any disciplinary action on a social media issue, they must make sure that they are undertaking this within a policy framework.  Not only is any action harder to undertake without a guidance document but it also opens up the employer to a claim of procedural fairness and possibly unfair dismissal.

It is now common for employees to consider all business to have in place a set of policies and procedures including one on social media. In fact, the Fair Work Commission has stated that to not have any policy in place as ‘not sufficient in an electronic age’.

Having a social media policy statement is a necessary practice to protect the reputation and the security of a business.

The social media policy must outline the accepted uses of social media in the workplace, the links between home and work, outline the expected behaviour of employees on social media and disciplinary consequences if the policy is not followed.

Citron Consulting can help you to create human resources policies suitable for your business including a Social Media policy.

Send us an email to talk about how we can help your business to be compliant to

Simone Ey

About Simone Ey

Simone Ey is the Managing Director at Citron Consulting and possesses over 20 years of human resources, organizational development and education experience. Simone’s expertise includes HR strategy including workforce optimisation, change management, organisational development, capability development, performance management and leadership coaching. Simone holds a Diploma of Business, Bachelor of Business degree in Human Resources and Psychology and a Graduate Diploma in Education. Simone is a Certified Professional member of the Australian Institute of Human Resources.

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