It’s the day after the office party. You know that you perhaps had a few too many glasses of wine and that there are things that you did that you wished you hadn’t. Even if you behaved impeccably, there’s a chance that members of your staff did not. Unfortunately, the days are long gone where you can be confident that “What happens at the Office Party stays at the Office Party”.
There’s a strong likelihood that they’ll be photos on lots of phones and that these will be appearing on Facebook and Twitter very quickly indeed. This can cause damage not only to the reputation of staff caught in compromising positions but also to the company as a whole if your clients and customers are able to see what you all got up to.
So, what are the options?
It’s useful to have a social media policy in place which clearly states:
- The position the company takes on the posting of photos from company events. Is it OK for these to be posted with the permission of everyone in the picture? Do management wish to see photos before they are posted and give approval? Is the position simply that pictures from company events shouldn’t be posted?
- The company’s position on the use of social media sites during working hours. Are you happy for staff to use these sites at lunch time? Is your stance that you don’t want them accessed at all during working hours? Either is fine but a statement making it clear what is and is not permissible is strongly advisable.
- Comments made which may bring the company into disrepute will be treated as a disciplinary matter.
- Comments made which are of a bullying or harassing nature regarding other employees will also be treated as a disciplinary matter.
- Whether employees are allowed to accept “friend” requests from clients, customers or suppliers.
Be proportionate in your response. Whilst it can be very disconcerting to know that unflattering images or comments are on the internet, it’s probable that they are of little interest to most people.Your policy can also state that employees must avoid providing details of who they work for on social media sites as one way to ensure that the reputation of the business is protected.
We all know that prevention is better than cure but if you don’t have a policy in place and find yourself in a difficult situation, there are some things to remember:
- Be proportionate in your response. Whilst it can be very disconcerting to know that unflattering images or comments are on the internet, it’s probable that they are of little interest to most people. It’s clearly not a situation to ignore but make sure that your response is appropriate to the situation.
- A quiet request to the relevant individual to remove the picture or delete the comment which is causing embarrassment to an individual or the business will usually be enough to deal with the situation. Then put the policy in place to avoid future problems.
- If the situation is more serious and you receive a complaint from another member of staff regarding comments which have been posted about them which are of a bullying or harassing nature then you’ll need to take a firmer stand. You should follow your grievance and disciplinary process to ensure the matter is investigated and taken to the appropriate conclusion.
We’re always here to help so if you do find yourself with a difficult situation to manage, then do give us a call on 0203 319 1649 or use our contact form to email us and we’ll be in touch.