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I’ve reached my boiling point. I’m steaming mad. Dear Mr. or Ms. Employment Law Attorney, Facebook is not going away. Social media is here to stay, and if you block it, your employees will find a way. I’m through with hearing employment law attorneys who are social media novices stand up and recommend that managers should not friend their employees on Facebook or use social media as part of their employee communication and candidate recruitment process.
I’ve fed up with hearing webinars, conference presentations, and reading articles soley with an attorneys point of view. I’m done with standing silent and letting them continue to sell their snake oil any longer.
Bottom line is that your employment law attorney really has no idea when it comes to social media. Yes, that means you Mr. or Ms. Employment Law Attorney. Many of them have never posted a tweet, shared a story on Facebook, or know that delicious is a social bookmarking site and not about food. It’s true I don’t have my J.D., but when I hear attorneys discuss social media and advice audiences of eager human resource professionals, I’m compelled to go back to school. But then I remember that anyone can read and understand case law, I have the internet too.
Except I have one thing you don’t, practical knowledge on social media. And because I’m in the sharing mood, Mr. or Ms. Employment Law Attorney, here are 4 things you should know about social media at work before spouting off your expertise, criticizing the tools, and poking fun at Zappos when it comes to social media.
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- Don’t friend your employees on Facebook. While I understand that attorneys are there to be risk averse, when we don’t friend our employees we are effectively giving them the middle finger, and if employee engagement is a focus, then friend them. Utilize a tool within Facebook called Lists. This is where you can create lists or groups of your friends. You can control each list to have access to your profile page. They can be your friend without actually having access to your personal information, status updates, and photos.
- Avoid social media when recruiting. Advice like this is like telling people to forego having an ATS or don’t accept applications. I’m sorry, I can’t talk to you because my employer said not to. Um no. . . Recruiting 101 is to go where the candidates go, and if they spend time on social media, then companies should be there. Companies should set guidelines, boundaries, and consider using tools to help limit the amount of employment law liability. Employers should be aware of some of these emerging tools if they want to educate their audience properly.
- Keep your employees from leaving references on LinkedIn. I get these are endorsements. We are not, however, verifying their dates of employment or rehire eligibility. Consider training your staff or providing them with a template on how to write an appropriate LinkedIn, BeKnown, or BranchOut professional reference. (Hint for attorneys, check out BeKnown and BranchOut).
- Ban social media for the workplace. Keeping your employees from using social media is a lost cause. If you ban them from accessing these sites on your corporate servers, employees will find a way either using a smartphone or proxy servers. Google “accessing Facebook at work.” There are more than 21 million results. Not sure what I mean, here’s a blog post that provides employes a how to access Facebook at work.
Do you agree? Who’s with me?