Social-Media Policy Ideas

At the AON Social Media & HR Summit conference this week, the topic of social-media policies has come up repeatedly.  Attendees at this event are very savvy with respect to the multitude of ways that social media can be used in Human Resources and by employers, generally.  But a question that keeps coming up is “Ok, so now what?”  HR professionals seem to be embracing the many ways that social media can be used but know that there needs to be a set of guidelines for acceptable and appropriate use. 

Crafting a social-media policy is no easy task.  There are so many variables and possible risks that can and should be addressed before you roll out your social-media initiatives.  I’m going to be speaking again on a panel at the conference here in Chicago in about 20 minutes, so I won’t have time to outline all of the possibilities, so I’ll give you an idea of the first three steps in the process of creating a social-media process.

1.  Familiarize the Decision Makers

Unless and until the relevant decision makers understand what social media is, you’re going to have very little luck with getting any program in place.  The first step has to be to get those with the decision-making power comfortable with the possibilities.  So set up a Twitter account for your C-Suite and let them listen to the conversation first so they know what they can expect when the organization makes the move towards social media.

2.  Select Key Players

Identify the individuals who will participate in the policy-drafting process.  Who will be your core group?  Consider getting stakeholders from various departments involved.  In addition to HR, consider involving representatives of Corporate Legal, Marketing / PR / Communications, and IT also participate in drafting the guidelines. Will you have a core group draft an outline and then permit employees comment on the draft like IBM did?  Participation does wonders for buy-in of the policy.

3.  Determine Objectives

Policy decisions can’t be made unless you have a clear mission and true understanding of what your underlying objectives are.  You can think of it on a spectrum.  On one end of the spectrum, you have an objective of keeping employees away from social media when it comes to their work.  If that’s the objective, you’re going to focus on banning the use of social media in the workplace.  At the other end of the spectrum is the objective of getting your employees fully engaged in social media, using employees as brand advocates and key recruiters.  If these are key goals, then you want to share and include, not censor and prohibit. 


More to come on social media policies. . .

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