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Is it time to revise your company’s social media policy for employees?

2 min read


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social media practices and issues.

This week, we asked: Is your company revising its social media policy after the National Labor Relations Board’s ruling on employees using social media to discuss workplace conditions?

  • No: 48.19%
  • We don’t have a policy: 37.35%
  • Yes: 14.46%

The NLRB’s ruling might affect your company, if the company’s social media policy delves into acceptable employee uses of social networking. The best social media policies take a fairly common-sense approach to employees’ personal social media activities. After all, it’s not productive use of a company’s time to micromanage employees’ personal tweets, aside from restricting disclosing trade secrets and the like.

Some companies, however, took their policies a step further and tried to restrict employees’ discussion of working conditions — and that’s where the NLRB’s ruling comes in. If your social media policy deals with employees’ personal social media activities, you’re going to want to have your lawyer look over your guidelines to make sure you’re complying with the ruling.

The people who are in most danger, after the ruling, are the more than 1 in 3 SmartBrief on Social Media readers who say they don’t have a policy. You can’t effectively manage employees and consistently apply standards of behavior unless you codify how you want employees to behave online. At best, you’re leaving yourself open to unacceptable behavior, because you’re not communicating your standards to workers. At worst, you could bungle a response to what you consider inappropriate behavior and run afoul of employment regulations. Having a well-vetted social media policy is the easiest way to protect your employees and your brand.