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Policy is a code of conduct approved or anticipated by a business organization to help in guarding its values and morals as well as its mission. For an organization to run smoothly and achieve its desired objectives, it must set clear policy statements for its works so that they become aware of what is expected of them. Social media policy or social networking policy is one of such policies required by most business organizations. The world is experiencing a a rapid change in communication as a result of technological advancement. Many businesses have now resorted to using social media at the expense of other communication methods due to its popularity in the modern world.
Gruzd 2011 in his completed study defined social networking policy as a business code of behavior that gives rules to all workers of an organization who publishes any information on the internet both as part of their work for the business or as a private individual. The business may employ various ways that can be used to make the policy effective. For instance giving directives to the employees on when they should identify themselves on social media as business representatives when using the company websites during postings. The company can decide on information regarding the company that should be shared to the public and the ones which are treated as private and confidential.
Since the business is organized into departments, it is therefore the responsibility of the departmental heads to ensure that employees adhere to these policies for the smooth running of the business organization while the management has the responsibility of doing the follow up to ensure that it is implemented without failure. However there are reasons which can make the policy to be suspended especially when the employees are protesting that their rights are infringed by the policy.
The reason behind the creation of this policy in a business organization is to make employees responsible for their social media postings. Many businesses have been taken to court for posting offensive statements on their social media accounts. To avoid such scenario, it is better for the organization to come up with policies that will regulate their employee’s usage of the social network with a view of protecting the organization’s image.
Preventing the employees from sharing information that is deemed confidential by the business. For instance, an employee may decide to leak the industry secrets in the social media. Such secrets may include financial statements of the company in a given fiscal year without the consent of the business. Leaking to the public the assets and liabilities the business is owning against the will of the business as well as publishing the company’s financial audit reports without prior authorization of the business.
Consideration of the audience by the business employees in their social media postings. Before publishing any information on the social media by any employee either as a private individual or on behalf of the business, the policy will require the person to review the statement before publishing it by considering the target audience. The potential customers may perceive the post as an insult thereby affecting the business progress negatively.
When using this platform as a marketing tool for the company’s products, the employees are required to include their name, title and the name of the company if necessary to convince the consumers of the product in question. Consumers are always willing to buy from people or businesses they are well conversant with. Employees who do not include this information in their posting may end up influencing the product’s sales negatively.
The policy also aims at encouraging employees to promote fair judgment in their publications. The policy demands that the workers refrain from using terms that may be seen as lack of respect to the company itself or the general public. People use the internet many occasions to share information and exchange of ideas. So it requires people to be careful about whatever they post so that they are not seen as racist and people who lack respects for other individuals or businesses.
It encourages the use of social media platform to add value to the company’s reputation. For example use of blogs to inform the consumers about the existence of the new product in the market from the company. However, the policy is against the use of this platform for political reasons because the consumers of the company’s products come across the political divide. Anytime the name of the business is dragged into politics; the; the corporation must lose some of her esteemed customers.
The policy cannot be effective without proper implementation. The audit mechanisms that can be employed for its successful application in the business include; adequate consultation with the relevant authorities and stakeholders. This will ensure that where there is weakness concerning the policy are corrected with immediate effect before it comes into full force. Through consultation, employees will be able to understand the importance of the policy for their good and the good of the business.
The policy has to be designed to fit the business objectives and missions. It, therefore, means that before coming up with the policy of the social networking, thorough investigations must be carried out first to ascertain how the policy is likely to affect the business and its workers. The idea should not just be borrowed from elsewhere and implemented into the organizations without caring for the possible consequences that come with its application. So the idea must first adapt to the business operations to work effectively.
The motives behind the introduction of the policy in the business should be clearly stated. This will make it easier for the workers to understand its application at the moment. In cases where this is not done appropriately, workers may think that they are targeted in the whole process. So the business must sit down with all the people who are involved and give them valid reasons why the policy must be adopted in the business.
It should be realistic and attainable. The workers must be made to understand that the policy can be put into use without the company infringing into their rights. This will make the implementation of the policy to be achieved without any problem. There is no point of coming up with a policy which cannot be achieved. The management should not be excited after coming up with a policy if they are aware that it will be difficult to implement. It becomes of no use.
After drafting the policy, it should be made public for the workers to be well conversant with it. For the purpose of convenience, the business should publish the policy on its manuals so that employees are in a position to access it at any time. This will ensure that they do not forget the requirement of the policy.
The management should be able to do follow up to ensure that the policy is adhered to as required by the organization. Whenever it is discovered that the workforce is not adhering to the said rules, proper action should be taken to rectify the problems. If it calls for a disciplinary action to be taken against the people who are breaching the policy, then it should be carried out without fear or favor to show the commitment the organization has towards the implementation of the policy.
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