As the usage of social media grows exponentially and the opinions of one can be read by all in just an instant, companies are left in a quandary. The knee jerk reaction is to just turn it all off and ban employees from saying anything whatsoever about the company online. And if they do, well, then it’s a fireable offense.
But a recent settlement reached in Connecticut will make employers think twice before stopping workers from talking about their jobs on sites like Facebook and Twitter. The US government sued the Connecticut ambulance company last year after an employee was fired when she criticised her boss on Facebook, arguing that the worker’s speech was protected under labour laws.
If banning social media is out then there’s only one solution left to businesses and that is to embrace and manage it. Instigate an employee social media policy and make sure it’s widely communicated. Proactively manage your brand by following what’s said, accepting that it might not always be positive and thinking of ways to turn potentially negative situations into opportunities. And lastly, make sure that your insurance policy covers user generated content and the legal liability that comes along with it.