Navigating the Social Workplace

7/20/2017 - By Shannon Lands, SPHR

The speed with which social media has grown in the past several years has taken many company leaders by surprise.  It took many, many years for radio to reach a certain number of users, then many more years for television to reach a certain number of users. 

In just a few years after their creation, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have reached audiences across the entire world. The popularity of social media impacts the workplace in terms of communications styles, employee productivity and the blurring of lines between business and personal communications.

Social media platforms are legitimate business tools; therefore, companies must place a high priority on developing social media etiquette.  Participating on your company’s social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, blogs, LinkedIn, etc) can benefit both you and your company.  

Here are some things to consider when you participate on your company’s social media platforms:

  • Understand what posts are considered valuable (highlighting a company event) vs. posts that may be frowned upon (posting pictures of cats all day).

  • Make sure you understand your company’s written policy, if there is one, but also the company culture – most companies have their own written rules of conduct and their “unspoken” rules of conduct.  Know your culture.

  • Before posting anything, ask yourself, “Could this make someone feel uncomfortable?” Obviously, if the answer is YES, then DON’T post it.

  • Respect the boundaries between public vs. private comments or discussions. If you are posting a message that will benefit everyone, post it.  If it’s a message that is only meant for a few people, send a private message.  Avoid being that person in the office who posts something irrelevant or incorrect and have it seen/shared by everyone in the office.

  • Be professional – think before you type.  Remember, once something is published online, it is almost impossible to erase. Even if you delete it, people can screenshot or save your post prior.

  • Don’t retweet or share something unless you have read it.  Headline links can be deceptive. Why would you want to put your stamp of approval on something that you haven’t even read?

These pointers provide some guidance to navigate the oftentimes uncertain world of social media in the workplace. If you have any questions about social media usage or written policies for the workplace, email me or call (850) 435-8300 x1085.

About the Author | Shannon P. Lands, SPHR

Shannon serves as the manager of human resources and related consulting services for Saltmarsh. She has been practicing in this field since 1994, acting as a human resources administrator and consultant for a number of small to mid-sized companies. Shannon’s experience includes all aspects of human resources administration, including policy and procedure development and legal compliance.

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