Among the carnage in the streets of Vancouver after last week’s Stanley Cup playoff loss comes the story of people who were victims of their own social media stupidity.
Exhibit A: Connor Mcilvenna, a 22-year-old Vancouver construction worker, said he was downtown "watching the riots” and decided to post a few pro-riot updates on his Facebook page. They included: “that riot was AWESOME!!!” and “atta boy vancity!! Show em how we do it!!” and “Vancouver needed remodeling anyway.” His profile included his employer’s name.
The morning after, Mcilvenna’s supervisor called him into the office, read him the riot act and then fired him. As the boss told CTV News, "I just didn't feel like what was said was appropriate, and I didn't want any affiliation towards my company with the things he said on Facebook."
Do your employees know that their Facebook foibles and Twitter trip-ups could affect their employment status? Have you given them fair warning?
These days, every employer should have a policy on employees’ social media usage. Here are the five points to make clear:
1. Don’t expect privacy. Employees need to know that information posted on social media sites should not be considered private. Remind them that their postings will exist in a public forum for a long time.
2. Use good judgment. Warn employees that if information they post on a social media site violates any company policy, affects the employee’s job performance, or hurts the reputation of other employees or the company’s business interests, they may be subject to discipline up to and including termination.
3. Only on your own time. If you want to draw a hard line, inform employees that they are prohibited from participating in social media during working time.
4. Post as yourself. Tell employees that if they make references that could in any way be attributed to the company, the employee must notify readers that the views, opinions, ideas and information are the employee’s own, and are not sanctioned by the company.
5. Keep secrets and don’t steal. Remind employees that they are prohibited from disclosing proprietary information, data, trade secrets or other confidential nonpublic company information. Inform them that they may not use or disclose the company’s intellectual property online without advance, written permission.
Have your employees caused social media troubles … and, if so, what’s been your response?