This article in AHRIs HRM online canvasses the mechanics of social media at work. Regardless of whether you want it or not, we all have to face the fact that social media goes with us wherever we have a mobile phone and reception.
Recently while MC at a National Conference I took the approach to encourage attendees to “put yourselves in the place of those you usually train and to behave how you ask them to behave”
The purpose of this was to encourage people to be attentive, willing to learn, to have an open mind and to ask questions. What also came up were the different ways that we expect social media to be used or avoided at work.
At events such as this conference the audience is encouraged to tweet and use the conference hashtag – so how can a casual observer tell if someone is using their phone to tweet or facebook?
The same sort of thing happens at work with so many people making use of efficiency apps such as evernote to make notes. If a person is head down typing at a meeting, how do you know if they are making notes or emailing or on social media? The answer is that you don’t until after the fact.
Returning to the AHRI article covering a specific case that also relates to flexible work practices. There are a few very clear lessons to be learned that are raise din the article – social media policy, clearly defined expectations of workplace behaviour and the definition of the workplace.
From the broader view of how the world of work is changing there are broader issues here about culture at work and how clear we have been with employees about what is acceptable behaviour. (posting derogatory comments on social media is not ok, but where is that stated and where can people find the definitiono f derogatory?)
What key suggestions can be made?
1. Workplace policies need to be explicit about what is ok and what is not ok, we cannot claim that people should know. That is similar to expecting employees to read minds.
2. Many workplaces have created short samples of behaviours associated with key values of the organisation to define what is ok and what is not ok.
3. Social media is here to stay and provides a record of what has been posted, let’s help each other to use it as a helpful tool and not a weapon