Employee Social Media Misuse Is Up. Should We Go On A Social Media Lockdown?

A new global workplace study has found that more than 70% of employers report having to take disciplinary action against employees for social media misuse – up from 35% in 2012. Wow. That is a lot. Should we just shut social media down and block it from our employees? What kinds of misuse are happening and does this mean we need to clampdown on employee social media efforts?

What kinds of employee social media misuse?

  1. Misuse of confidential information (80%)
  2. Misrepresenting the views of the business (71%)
  3. Inappropriate non-business use (67%)
  4. Disparaging remarks about the business or employees (64%)
  5. Harassment (64%)

What is interesting is that while employee social media misuse is up, overall workplace misconduct is downOnly 41% of employees observed misconduct in 2013, down from 55% in 2007. Why? Researchers found that 81% of companies are proving ethics training and it seems to be working. Yet other research has found that only 25% of companies offer social media training to their employees. 

I believe misuse is up because employee social media use is up and many have not followed suit with employee social media guideline and training. Even the courts and law are playing catchup.

For example, a recent ruling by the National Labor Relations Board, has determined that it is legal to vent about your employer on a personal social media account if you’re speaking on behalf of a group of employees and your intent is to improve the conditions of your job. This ruling was in response to employer social media policies that were seen as too restrictive.

Research has found that 31% of companies still have no social media policy in placeDo you have a social media policy? Does it need to be updated? One place to start is to look at what others have put together. Here are over 100 Social Media Employee Policy Examples thanks to Social Media Today.

WOMMA (Word of Mouth Marketing Association also has resources to help you understand the responsibilities brand  have in complying with the FTC Guidelines in their Social Media Marketing Disclosure Guide.

When it comes to training, companies like Unisys, Sprint and HP are creating social media training programs to avoid social media crises, but also show employees how using social media can be a valuable business tool to increase performance and productivity.

At the end of day it comes down to employee trust. Jeff Bezos’ employee Pay To Quit program for Amazon.com makes a lot of sense.

6% of companies block access to social media sites in their workplaces. Should you lockdown social media? Or should we provide our employees with the proper guidance and training to use social media properly?

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