So you’re obviously here because you can’t stop employees from using Facebook. Truth be told, if someone is that hard pressed to access their social media, they’ll go through hell and high water to do it, but just because taming the beasts can be something similar to gladiating doesn’t mean you can’t stop employees from using Facebook. And here’s some tips on how to do it:
Create a Strong Company Policy
I know, I know, most of you guys are here because your company policy on social media is nothing more than a piece of paper. But starting with a strong foundation is really going to lay the groundwork for anything and everything that follows (and you’d be surprised by the amount of people that don’t have a strong policy in motion). Employers theoretically have a leg up here because they’re the ones that exclusively retain the right to control how employees spend their time at work.
Explicitly state in your company policy that allocating time to any social media platform unrelated to work won’t be tolerated, and make sure to include the repercussions that will follow if the policy is not adhered to. Establish clear boundaries so that when policy is breached (and believe me, it will happen), you can reference it and pursue the appropriate action. Implementing a type of system that hands out a pre-set number of warnings before a greater punishment is enforced is a good system to adopt, too.
Designate Social Media Time
When someone’s job is directly related to social media or requires the use of social media from time to time, you need to designate some social media time. It might seem counterproductive, but trust me, it isn’t. Actually establishing social media time allows you to be more flexible with how you enforce that company policy we talked about. By allowing social media at work in the first place it becomes easier to follow up with your expectations of how social media privileges should be handled and what will happen when they’re not met.
Things like employer monitoring requires a little more effort on the employer’s part, but actively monitoring employee use of social media either by yourself or through a managerial/supervisor position is a great way to directly make sure no one is abusing company policy. Setting up separate “Social Media Computers,” where employees can exclusively use technology to access social media for their job is another easy way to make sure you know when employees are using Facebook (and a great way to trick them into feeling as though they’ve cheated the system). Basically, a little babysitting never hurt anyone and, if monitored in a timely manner, it can actually be more efficient than if left unchecked.
Sure, you’ll never be able to completely stop employees from using Facebook, but you can try your damn best. Utilize the technology at hand like firewalls and web-filtering services to make sure you scare the pants off of employees who waste your time. This is especially poignant for larger offices, where implementing a Firewall won’t require you to block Facebook, or any other social media platform for that matter, on each individual machine and instead automatically covers all the browsers in your office.
Don’t be scared to take advantage of an IT department, either (whether it’s your own IT department or a third party), as they have the ability to filter and note which employees abuse policy and make sure the people who need to know about it find out. Employing this type of rigidity may seem extreme, but give it a few weeks and employees will eventually get tired of being caught and just give up.
Establish a Clear Channel of Communication
Keeping the lines of communication open between you and your employees is probably one of the most important ways to keep them off of social media. Of course you don’t want to be taken advantage of, but the age old adage of attracting more bees with honey really applies here: listen to your employees and they might just listen to you.
In other words, don’t be afraid to open up and actually ask your employees for ideas on how to resolve what you perceive as a social media problem. This way, you’re not only giving your employees a platform to feel heard, but you’re allowing a relaxed work atmosphere to continue. Believe it or not, most employees actually do want to feel as though they’re contributing something worthwhile to their workplace, and if you take an idea of theirs into consideration, they’ll be more likely to uphold it (ego is a beautiful thing).
For ZBRELLA Technology Consulting, I’m Christopher Clark, goodnight and good luck (you’re gonna need it!).