Vesta Digital Blog

How to Enforce Social Media Policy in the Workplace

Posted on: August 11, 2010

Bank Info Security recently published a blog post discussing social media policy. The idea of social media policy is stemmed from employees becoming less productive due to using social media sites on the job for non-business related purposes.

Below is an excerpt from the blog post.

“Popular sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter have had a phenomenal impact in the workplace – both as a corporate channel for communication and marketing, as well as a vehicle for employees to communicate both professionally and personally.

The latter is a key point. According to a new survey conducted by Trend Micro, a global internet content security company, employees increasingly are using social networks while in the office and on the clock. The survey looked at the habits of 1,600 internet users from the U.S., UK, Germany and Japan and found that over the past two years alone, social web use in the workplace has risen from 19% to 24%.

It is debatable how much the rise in social networking has compromised employee productivity, but it’s indisputable that much of this activity is occurring in the absence of formal policies.”

John Pironti, an ISACA board member and president of IP Architects, LLC., says:

In its simplest terms, there is anarchy in the absence of social media policy and training…without proper direction and clarity, it is hard to enforce appropriate consequences on someone.

Social Media Anarchy

“Because of this anarchy, organizations are starting to take action. Fear of compromised productivity, reputational damage, data loss and inappropriate behavior is leading many employers to introduce strict controls on staff access to social media sites. Robert Half Technology, an IT staffing company, recently reported that 54 percent of U.S. companies have banned workers from using social networking sites while on the job. The study found that 19 percent of companies allow social networking use only for business purposes, while 16 percent allow limited personal use.

“Organizations such as Navy Federal Credit Union have implemented a social media policy for all employees, addressing appropriate conduct on social networks. “The policy provides clear rules for those authorized to communicate on behalf of Navy Federal and rules for those that are not authorized, but choose to engage in social networks,” says Aisha Rasul, project manager, delivery channels at Navy Federal Credit Union.

“Such policies are being developed by organizations across industry. In short, a social media policy outlines the corporate guidelines or principles of communicating in the online world. A social media policy involves identifying and training employees who are representing the company and have a public facing presence.”

Even businesses who do engage in social media marketing for their organization must enforce social media policies. What goes on the Internet will always be on the Internet, so a business owner must have a clear understanding of his or her employees’ conduct online.

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