HR social media policies: what should employers and employees consider?

Maria Suasti 08.12.2016

Social media occupies a large proportion of our daily lives. How often are we guilty of checking in on our smartphones, tablets, laptops and various other devices?

It has also become the go-to place to keep ourselves informed with what’s going on in the world with many news outlets now being viewed through social media platforms. On other occasions, people simply view social media just for a browse.

For many working professionals, networking, communication, marketing, building your personal brand is an important aspect of their role, it is also useful for job searching purposes. Online activity is particularly relevant to achieving these goals. But what does this mean for the workplace? There are many challenges such as how can one distinguish between work-related activity and personal usage? Distractions can be disruptive to the flow of work productivity. This represents a challenge for HR. Introducing social media policies has been on the rise in recent times but how does an organisation enforce such a policy and what effect could this potentially have on employees and employers?

This is a topical discussion for HR professionals. Recently I attended a CIPD seminar hosted by McCann Fitzgerald entitled Digital workplace & Social Media: Legal Issues for HR. This event gave an excellent overview on what employers and employees should consider:

Employer’s consideration

  • Personal use – What is permitted, what is prohibited, guidelines for do’s and don’ts
  • Monitoring – What are the parameters surrounding privacy versus safeguarding the organisation
  • Business use – Responsible and professional usage
  • Data protection – Legitimate interest in protecting sensitive, confidential company information and resources


Employee’s consideration

  • Responsible usage – Careful consideration for how they use social media in and out of the workplace
  • Building your personal brand – Utilising social media effectively to improve your network and broaden your market reach for both professional and career development purposes


As a recruitment consultant I found this seminar very insightful and interesting. Online activity is a central part of my role. One thing I’ve taken from this discussion is that social media can be a useful tool from both a business and professional perspective. It has highlighted the important influence social media plays in how we perceive people that can ultimately lead to rather subjective decision-making. This places a significant amount of trust on our shoulders. Employees should always therefore be mindful and responsible for what they post on social media and respect their organisation’s policies and aim to build trust with whoever they are engaging with through their online activity.

In conclusion the lines are becoming increasingly blurred by the reality of the digital age. An effective social media policy should be engaging ensuring communication between employee and employer is clear and transparent. Awareness is the most important component for the policy to be effective from the get go. 

I'm a specialist HR Recruiter within the National HR Recruitment team at Morgan McKinley. If you are seeking a new role in 2017 or are looking to add talent to your HR team contact me for a confidential discussion on 01 4321555.

Maria Suasti's picture
Recruitment Consultant | HR Recruitment


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