HR Company Offers Tips for Corporate Social Media Usage

Posted by at 8:51 pm on August 5, 2008

TriNet, a company that provides HR outsourcing, consulting and compliance support to small and medium-sized businesses says more companies are seeking advice on navigating their employees’ use of online publishing mediums and addressing the use of company information in personal blogs and on Web site postings.

“Negative employee blogging or inappropriate posts about the workplace on social networking sites presents a new, confusing and often very daunting challenge for many smaller employers,” said Jackie Breslin, director of human capital consulting for TriNet. “Business owners need to stop and ask themselves some important questions regarding their employees’ personal online usage of this growing technology in order to safeguard the company’s reputation and protect themselves from liability if legal and harassment issues arise.”


TriNet recommends that businesses consider the following questions when establishing social media usage rules:

  • How is this new online publishing medium impacting my HR policies?
  • What are appropriate policies for my company regarding employee blogging and social networking?
  • As an employer, what rights do I have if an employee blogs criticism about my company?
  • Can I set limitations on blogging, disclosure of confidential information or the posting of other subject matter?
  • Where is the line, both legally and ethically, between what is considered appropriate or inappropriate disclosure?
  • When can blogging or posts be grounds for disciplinary action or possible termination?

Research indicates that growth of social media sites like Linkedin, Facebook, Bebo and MySpace with continue at a rapid pace. The Pew Internet & American Life Project states that MySpace now has more than 115 million members, and LinkedIn has more than 24 million users. The Pew Foundationalso reports that the average blog reader reads six blogs a day and spends 10 hours per week reading blogs. Of the 72 percent of U.S. adults who use the internet regularly, 45 percent are creating personal content for others to see and 32 percent actually consider themselves to be a “broadcaster” of their own media.

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