Magazine article Workforce Management

Policies Must Score a Mutual Like

Magazine article Workforce Management

Policies Must Score a Mutual Like

Article excerpt

It may not be illegal to ask job applicants for their Facebook password, but doing so may cause you to lose the best job candidates--and infuriate the employees you already have.

The U.S. House of Representatives in March killed legislation that would ban employers from demanding workers' social networking passwords--after several organizations were criticized for demanding access to candidates' Facebook pages as a condition of potential employment. In the same month, an outraged Facebook threatened to take legal action against companies that requested passwords to their users' pages, arguing that violates the company's privacy guidelines.

This public conflict underscores the broader challenge that companies face when building a social media policy that supports the corporate brand without infringing on the rights of employees or job applicants.

Among other things, a policy should explain why breaking the rules could hurt the company.

Social media policies that define what employees can talk about and how employers will monitor them help organizations protect their intellectual property while giving workers a framework for online communication.

The Society for Human Resource Management says 40 percent of organizations have a formal social media policy, and more than half of these policies include a statement regarding the organization's right to monitor social media usage. …

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