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Social Media Training in the Workplace

Chapter 2: Social Media, Labor Law and the NLRB

Posted by Dawn Lomer on March 3rd, 2015

Chapter 1: Corporate Social Media Policies

Chapter 2: Social Media Training in the Workplace

Employee education is critical to the success of a social media policy. They need to know it exists and they need to have access to it.

Tailored Training

Since companies use social media to talk to the public, answer their questions, find better ways to meet their needs, make adjustments to products and increase transparency, employees who are using it on the company’s behalf need specific training on how the company wants to be represented. Every employee won’t be using social media in the same way, so tailor training to the various control levels. Teach employees how to use social media effectively if they are publishing content or leaving comments on behalf of the company. Provide those who are in charge of managing company social media accounts with targeted training so they know what’s acceptable and what isn’t.

Use Social Media

If you’ve got a training session on social media, use social media to deliver the message. A written code of conduct is not going get the attention of the modern employee. Use the power of the online platform.

Real Life Examples

Make examples out of those who have failed. Tell stories of others who were fired or reprimanded for posting unacceptable information on their social media networks. Using real life examples from your own organization or those in your industry helps employees develop a better understanding of acceptable social media use because they are familiar with the situations their colleagues have encountered.

Teach employees that anything posted on the Internet is a permanent marker. Some employees need to be reminded that no matter how fast you remove a wall post, delete a tweet or edit a blog post, the damage is done the minute you upload the post, send, share, etc. Use the example of the employee responsible for managing Chrysler’s Twitter account who posted a tweet that used profane language to describe some of the drivers in Detroit. Although the tweet was taken down immediately, blog posts, news stories and screen grabs of that tweet still remain.

Information Security and Confidentiality

Aside from concerns about productivity, the use of social media in the workplace brings risks for information security, that can have even greater impact, especially in public companies or environments where there is sensitive information.

Today’s employees are part of the WikiLeaks generation. They believe in information sharing, so employers need to make sure they are not sharing protected or confidential information which may either compromise credibility with investors or may damage the company’s brand and reputation in the market. You can do this by establishing a sound and widely understood policy and reminders. Give them concrete examples of the type of information that may not be shared.

Use Common Sense

Fostering an atmosphere of professional conduct in the workplace is a start, but basic common sense should prevail. Employees should be encouraged to think broadly about the impact of their actions.

Let Employees Know Your Door Is Open

During training sessions, encourage employees to come forward with work-related concerns rather than posting them on social media sites. Stress the fact that an employer is in a much better position to address workplace concerns than the employee’s online community. When they do come forward, take the time to listen to their concerns and take appropriate action when serious issues arise.

Chapter 3: Protected Concerted Activity

Chapter 4: Guidance from NLRB Social Media Cases


Dawn Lomer
Dawn Lomer

Manager of Communications

Dawn Lomer is the Manager of Communications at i-Sight Software and a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE). She writes about topics related to workplace investigations, ethics and compliance, data security and e-discovery, and hosts i-Sight webinars.

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