digital and social media | February 10, 2013

Alexandra Samuel in HBR: Why You Need A Social Media-Proof HR Policy

As Alexandra Samuel admits in a new post in the Harvard Buisness Review, it's inevitable that your company will eventually have to let someone go. However, she points to the social media scandals that erupted when employees were fired from Applebee's and HMV as cautionary tales for HR departments everywhere. "Companies need to consider both their HR policies and their social media policies in light of the very real possibility that any termination or workplace dispute may become very public very fast," Samuel writes in the post. Ocassionally receiving some backlash from a disgruntled employee after they are dismissed isn't new territory—but worrying about whether they'll post the details on the Internet is. As the Vice President of Social Media at Vision Critial, Samuel deals with these kinds of issues everyday. She is an expert on digital media, and gives informative keynotes on how to effectively manage your life online.

Here are five tips Samuel provides to ensure that your company doesn't have an online public relations disaster on their hands when an employee is let go:

1) Consolidate management of your social media accounts: Allow as few people as possible access to your social media passwords, use a tool that allows you to cut off one person from your accounts if necessary, and always tie your accounts to a company related email—not a personal one.

2) Set explicit online policies: Employees should know exactly what type of online behavior is grounds for dismissal.

3) Treat employees with large social media followings like senior executives: Have a plan drafted in case any layoff enters the social media sphere and pay special attention to employees who are very active online. 

4) Keep a lookout for scandals in the making: Your social media monitoring should include keeping an eye out for the words "hired", "fired", "interviewed," or "layoff" and whether they are connected with your company name. This helps you catch wind of a potential problem when it first starts.

5) Pay attention to employee satisfaction websites: Sites like GlassDoor allow employees to rate their satisfaction with their current employer. Ensure your reputation on these outlets is pristine and use them to sniff out potential problems brewing with current employees before they get out of hand.

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