Monday, November 22, 2010

Learning From the Mistakes of Others

Forbes Magazine has listed this year's biggest corporate blunders, and - not surprisingly - they all have one or more disastrous elements in common: Negligence.  Carelessness. Deception.  Disorganization.  Individually, these elements can damage consumer perception, employee morale, or a company's reputation.  But combined?  That's a blow that would prove difficult for any organization to rebound from.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Social Media and Work: An Online Resource

Social media in the workplace has become a hot topic, rife with all sorts of complications for employers.  Should we allow employees to "tweet" at work?  Can employees tweet about work?  Does our authority extend to an employee's Facebook page?  Can we fire an employee for his or her online content? What can truly be defined as "objectionable"?  

I've cautioned employees and job applicants about the risks associated with having an online "presence."  I still maintain that it is possible to participate in social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter without compromising one's professional standing.  However, on the topic of social media, I haven't fully addressed the employer's needs.  So here goes.

Yes, organizations need a comprehensive social media policy. Ideally, it should be written by individuals who fully understand the definition of "social media," and have utilized it themselves.  It doesn't do much good to place censorship on one's Twitter page if you don't know what a "tweet" is.  To that end, a great resource is JD Supra's Social Media in the Workplace page, a collection of articles and sample policies written by individual lawyers and law firms for your use.  Topics include legal issues associated with online communications, hiring and firing concerns, harassment and defamation.  While these resources will not write your policy for you, they serve as a terrific starting point and can add some much-needed clarification on the topic of social media, and the importance of every business to have a clearly-written policy in place.

Once you have the basics down, check out Doug Cornelius' Social Media Policies Database - a frequently updated listing of organizations such as the American Red Cross, the Associated Press and Best Buy, and their respective social media policies.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Little Light Reading....

The topic of employees who use social media to air workplace issues is a tricky one.  A great post about the recent firing of a union employee by American Medical Response of Connecticut, as well as the NLRB's subsequent response, can be found at HRLori.

Mike Haberman wrote an interesting article for HR Toolbox about calculating an accurate HR-to-employee ratio. Check it out!

Should your business card include a photo?  I had already made up my mind before reading Donna Svei's post on the merits of including one.  She's very persuasive; I now find myself re-thinking my position!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Social Media and the Hatch Act

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel has released a detailed memo that outlines how the Hatch Act affects certain federal, state and local government employees (check here to see if you fall into this category.)  Specifically, the memo addresses social media and identifies acceptable and unacceptable online activities for covered employees on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and personal blogs.  Covered employees can, for example, advocate for a political candidate or group through their Facebook status updates; however, employees cannot post links to the "contribution page" of a political site.

It's imperative that covered employees know which political activities they can and cannot engage in online, whether at work or at home: penalties range from a written warning to termination. OhMyGov! has created 
this very handy guide.

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