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Tuesday
Feb102015

Should Staff Code of Conduct Agreement Cover Social Media Use?

Is it our right, as an employer, to ask our staff to sign a code of conduct agreement covering social media use? If so, what are some points we should include?

Yes, you certainly have the right to create a statement stipulating permissible social media conduct, and to ask your employees to review and sign it, as an indication that they understand and plan to adhere to it. We allow our employees to join the Brick Bodies social network, but, once they do, they have to understand that they’ve bridged the gap between their personal and professional interactions. Employees have to be aware that any time they post comments or information on their own social media pages, they’re making statements that also may reflect on the company.

At Brick Bodies, we’ve included this code of conduct in our employee handbook, and our human relations (HR) director reviews it with each new hire.

That said, here are a few points that you may want to cover in your code: Employees cannot spend time on their personal social media sites during work hours (to prevent them from wasting time). They cannot post anything with a negative connotation about the company or its employees. They cannot include information on how to handle members. And they cannot post anything illegal.

Basically, online conversations with current or potential members should be conducted with the same level of professionalism as conversations taking place in the club. Whenever employees post something, they should always ask the question: “Does this help or hurt the brand?”

JOSH GERBER
MARKETING DIRECTOR
BRICK BODIES FITNESS SERVICES, INC.
TIMONIUM, MARYLAND

 

 

 What you choose to include in your club’s social media policy should largely be a function of your social media strategy. Unfortunately, many club companies haven’t yet defined theirs. If you don’t have a strategy that sets forth clear goals, then it’s hard to establish a policy. However, if your employees understand what your brand represents and how you want, and need, to communicate it to the world via social media, then developing and implementing a policy around that strategy is much easier.

Some club managers want to control all of the content that appears on their social media pages, and others expect their employees to provide content. What’s your culture like? Typically, successful companies with effective social media strategies involve their employees. As a result, their policy naturally tends to reflect the club’s culture, and employees are more likely to adhere to it.

Where your club is located also plays a role. Different states have different laws that govern employment policies and practices. If you’ve already created your social media policy, then you’ll need to consult a lawyer in your state to determine if your policy is enforceable. You may also find it helpful to read my blog at bryankorourke.com/journal; there you’ll find more information on social media practices and dozens of samples of such policies. Finally, congratulations to you for thinking about this important topic! 

BRYAN O’ROURKE
PRINCIPAL AND CEO
INTEGERUS, LLC
COVINGTON, LOUISIANA

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