Does Your Factory Have a Social Media Policy?
It’s a safe bet that every single one of your employees uses social media in some capacity. They tweet about their favorite sports team, post pictures of their dog on Instagram, or share memes with their friends on Facebook. And while that’s fun, fine, and perfectly acceptable, that might not be all they’re doing on social channels.
Maybe they’re venting about a coworker after a bad day? Posting pictures of a prototype product they’re working on? Shopping around for a new job? Social media can quickly go from innocent to troublesome when it comes to employment-related posts.
The rise of the social policy
Most companies have social media policies. These policies range from stringent to casual — from a complete gag order on all employment-related posting to encouraging employees to extol the virtues of their job. In the manufacturing sector, these policies are even more wide-ranging. Don’t expect a defense production firm to allow any social media, for example.
Regardless of its severity, a social media policy isn’t meant to stop people from using social media (typically). Instead, it’s to stop them from using social media to bring harm to the company, purposefully or inadvertently.
- Prevent bullying, slandering, or hazing between coworkers.
- Reduce and prevent instances of slander to the company.
- Prevent accidental sharing of sensitive information or media.
- Promote good moral and ethical conduct of employees.
A clear and present social media policy is a simple way to safeguard against major problems, such as conflicts between employees or the accidental spilling of trade secrets. Whether you welcome social media or have a strict policy against it, that policy needs to be known and respected by everyone on the factory floor.
Make expectations clear
Do your employees know your social media policy? How are you teaching them about it or reminding them of it? With as present as social media is in so many people’s lives, the rules and expectations surrounding social platform use need to be just as clear and prevalent. Some examples include:
- Policies for where and when phones can be used in the workplace.
- Social media policy and expectations included with employee onboarding.
- Refresher courses and retraining for employees surrounding social media.
- Written and accessible statements about how social violations are investigated.
- Clear consequences for social media violations and issues.
Whether it’s “no smartphone” signs on the factory floor, a social media employee guide, or more, manufacturers need a plan in place to set the expectation for social media.
Positive policies for social media
Social media isn’t a problem until it’s a problem. It’s fine when an employee posts about how much they love their job, but can quickly turn sour if that employee accidentally leaks trade secrets through a seemingly innocuous photo. Manufacturers shouldn’t fear social media — rather, embrace it and set clear expectations for it to ensure all parties are protected.
Smart manufacturers will go one step further and even encourage their employees to use social media in a healthy and responsible way. Most employees are using social platforms, but don’t always know how to do so responsibly or safely. Employers that take the time to prioritize social media education for their workers will find a happier, more responsible workforce in their factories, and people less likely to accidentally create a debacle.