How to use social media and work-connected smart devices in offices

How to use social media and work-connected smart devices in offices

Like the millennials that run them, newer companies accept social media as a part of everyday life. Even many established brands have jumped on the social media bandwagon — they know that connecting with customers and sharing company information via Twitter, Facebook Instagram and the like are integral parts of their marketing efforts.

Where it gets tricky, however, is when employees start using their personal social accounts to post comments about their workplace. Most employers would love to have their staff promote the company to their networks, but that freedom to post also means inviting the possibility of negative comments — and you can’t legally stop them.

Kim Davis, senior vice president of corporate human resources at benefits broker NFP, said that according to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), people have the right to discuss their employment terms and conditions — for better or for worse.

“Employees can have these conversations and we can’t and shouldn’t stop them from highlighting their engagement with the company,” Davis said. “But you can set limits — talk about the appropriate use of social media, who can post on behalf of the company, how often you can access personal accounts during business hours, etc.”

If you want to encourage (but never force) employees to become your brand ambassadors on social media, check out Business News Daily’s guide here.

Work-connected smart devices

Today, most companies have some kind of BYOD (bring your own device) policy regarding the use of personal tech devices for work purposes. Several years ago, these policies primarily meant smartphones and laptops, but today, employees also have tablets, smart watches, fitness trackers and other Internet-enabled devices — all of which can connect to employer networks and access work data.

Jim Haviland, chief strategy officer of Vox Mobile, said that businesses will no longer be able to ignore the crossover of personal mobile devices into work territory, especially when it comes to wearable tech. Rather than banning such devices from the office, employers will have to create a mature, realistic approach to data security and privacy.

“Wearables will open up a new chapter in the privacy debate as they make real-time personal information available to enterprise applications,” Haviland said. “Some of this exposure will offer great personal benefit, like worker safety, but the ground rules for use and access are yet to be written or tested legally. Sound policy around wearables will require IT, operations, legal and HR to work together on policy and communications.”

Haviland noted that the best way to avoid future problems involving personal devices in the workplace is to make sure employees have a clear understanding of the rules around their use. He advised having your company’s legal and HR departments play a lead role in outlining technology use policy.

Similarly, Davis said that device-related policies should address not only use-case scenarios, but also confidentiality and security. Companies should set guidelines around operations that are important to the business: who owns the device and what happens when it’s lost, stolen or compromised.

“Be clear on what to do, and the responsibilities of the employees who carry these devices around,” Davis said. “Tell employees … what [data] is being collected, processed and stored. It has to be covered — it’s critical that policies are clear and consistent. Help employees understand how important what they have in their hand is, and how to use it without hurting themselves or the business in general.”