Guide

Managing employee use of social media

Social media and managing performance

In some organisations, use of social media could result in employees spending too much time away from core work duties which could badly affect productivity.

Outline appropriate social media use in your policy

Employers should have a clear workplace social media policy about personal use of work devices so employees are clear about what they are allowed to do and not allowed to do - see develop a social media policy.

The use of social media often blurs the distinction between work and home life, because it is accessible at home and while travelling. This has led to some employers putting more emphasis on managing the tasks an employee performs rather than managing the time they work.

Social media also allows employees to work remotely which offers unique challenges for performance management. Employees using tweets, internal message boards and professional networking sites to keep in touch can lead to improved frequency of communication between line management and staff. However, face to face communication is often more appropriate when dealing with work issues. It can also be difficult for line managers to accurately assess employees' performance if communication happens more online than in person.

Social media: employee health and safety

You also need to be aware of health and safety issues. For example, employees may use personal social networking as a way of switching off from work rather than having regulated breaks away from IT equipment.

The use of social media can also become addictive to varying degrees - from constantly checking work emails through to deeper personal problems, such as online gambling. Where there is a serious problem, employees may need to be encouraged to seek specialist help.

Read more on managing staff performance.