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Risk Management Bulletin

Employee Online Activity Can Make or Break a Business

By June 1, 2015No Comments

Social networking is a valuable and cost-effective advertising method for most forward-thinking businesses. However, it can also be a  land mine for lawsuits, damaged reputations and inappropriate sharing. For this reason, business owners must set clear guidelines on how employees are to act online. Here are some areas to cover when training employees on appropriate online behavior.
Avoid Lawsuits

Because social media is an anything-goes type of world, the potential for lawsuit abound. The most dangerous areas involve posting content, images or logos that are copyrighted. Additionally, making  negative comments about a company or individual is likely to draw an accusation of slander. In general, businesses should train employees to avoid referring to other companies or products at all. Focus only on the positive aspects of your own business.
Avoid Damage to the Company Reputation

Many employees interact on social media the same way that they interact via text message or with their friends. Responses are often off-the-cuff and sometimes off-color or inappropriate. In addition, some people tend to blow things out of proportion online disagreements occur. Businesses must train employees on how to act professionally when using the company’s social media sites. These sites are representing a brand and the company’s reputation must always be protected. Provide examples of how to deal with unhappy clients so that employees are prepared when it happens.
Regulate Employee’s Personal Social Media Sites

Employees with personal social media accounts often want to like, share or post to the walls of their employer’s accounts too. This is actually a good thing and helps generate tremendous marketing for a business. However, business owners must set a strict social media policy that informs employees about what is appropriate and inappropriate for the work sites. For example, a business may not want employees posting to their site if the employee’s profile image is them in a skimpy swimsuit or holding multiple alcoholic beverages. Inform employees that these images are fine for personal use but are not to be displayed in any way on the business site.