Top 3 Things Every HR Pro Needs to Know About Social Media Policies

Released: 04/08/2013

Guest Post on TLNT

Companies are looking to HR to answer their social media policy questions.

Here are three (3) key policy-making strategies I’ve learned during my 16 years as an executive-level HR practitioner:

1. Employees want to do a great job: Make it easy

A job isn’t just a paycheck and benefits; most employees want to do a great job for their companies, and they consistently rank being recognized for their work as a top motivator.

Once their pay and benefits needs are met, employees want to know that their efforts are valued and contribute to company success. To that end, companies should enable — not inhibit — employees from getting things done and doing their best.

Providing technology tools, such as social media, is one way to empower and engage employees to work smarter, not harder.

Social media can speed innovation, collaboration and communication — but only if employees know how to use it within a well-defined framework. Social media policies that recognize this, and attempt to appropriately empower rather than inappropriately control employees, are an essential tool for helping employees succeed.

2. Discipline will set you (and them) free

I’ve found that when policies incorporate employee input, employees themselves become the strongest advocates for compliance. Employees need to understand the purposes served by social media policies, and that they aren’t simply additional burdens on getting work done.

How do you build this understanding? By soliciting employee input for creating disciplined — not restrictive — policies, and then training and certifying them to implement these policies.

Educated employees become proud, and confident, internal advocates for compliance. You know you’ve been successful when you hear someone say, “While I don’t like this Facebook policy, I understand why our company needs it.

3. Top down, bottom up: Multiple perspectives get buy-in

Social media is about personalizing experience, whether for employees working inside your organization or customers engaging with your products outside. And VPs have differing perspectives from entry-level managers on what those experiences should be.

By developing social media policies that incorporate perspectives from all employees, you can better balance your organization’s cultural needs against an appropriate level of risk management.

Moreover, this approach fosters buy-in. Employees at all levels feel seen and understood, which lays the groundwork for success.

Steve Miranda is Managing Director of Cornell University’s Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies (CAHRS, a leading partnership between industry and academia devoted to the field of global HR management. He is also a faculty author of the new eCornell certificate program, Social Media in HR: From Policy to Practice. Prior to CAHRS, Miranda was Chief Human Resource and Strategic Planning Officer for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). He is also a former HR executive at Lucent Technologies where his work took him around the world, including a 3-1/2 year assignment as the head of HR for Lucent’s Asia-Pacific HR operations.