Confrontations between employees and employers over social media usage continues to be a top news story. Of course,every organization needs a social media policy, but if your policy development is driven by worries that employees are going to complain about poor working conditions and low pay on Facebook I suggest these things:
1. Improve working conditions. Think of Facebook and Twitter as a modern day suggestion box. Reach for some low hanging fruit that will make rapid improvements in working conditions – better posting locations, WiFi in the ambulance, clean bathrooms, and higher quality coffee.
2. Increase pay. Wage increases is a bit of a mirage because for most employees more money is a top five reason for workplace satisfaction, but rarely a number one reason.
3. Care about the people you supervise. This is truly important. People will work very hard for really low wages if they know their efforts are appreciated, important, and regularly affirmed.
4. Encourage sharing the good stuff. Most people are proud of their work and like the people they work with and for. Encourage them to update their status, tweet, and blog about work. Ask employees to post pictures of new equipment. Ask employees to blog about training events. Ask employees to update (without patient identifiers) times they made a difference for a patient. Google up the positive to drown out the negative.
5. Role model social media use. If you believe Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools are a passing fad or should be dismissed you are at much greater risk of social media being used to sabotage your organization. Learn about social media and then role model positive social media use just like any other professional workplace behavior.
What other actions should your organization take before banning employee use of social media or repealing an existing ban?