A traditional policy answers the “what do we do when ___ happens” but social media is unpredictable and the courts are years away from interpreting laws in this new world order. Since the environment changes so often policies for social media recruiting are better when they support culture instead of attempting to legislate adjudicate.
Here’s some guidelines to help you build a social recruitment policy:
- Site Guidelines aren’t Policies: If you focus on specific destinations (like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) such a policy will quickly be out of date. Look at the big picture: roles and responsibilities, compliance, branding, purpose and values. OK fine, go ahead and create a Site Policy, but as part of an overall policy.
- Use What You Have: You probably have policies that can apply to social media. For example, privacy policies, Internet or mobile phone use, etc. Did you know that photos taken on smartphones usually get tagged with exact time/date, and latitude and longitude coordinates?
- The Law: National Labor Relations Review Board (NLRB) is involved in some of the case law currently being created because social media is becoming a vehicle for employee organization. In other words, even casual conversations on Facebook about working conditions may be protected under the NLR Act. So in other words… be *careful* about instructing employees on what can and cannot be said on their personal time in their personal online social destinations.
- Socialize it: No one person owns organizational culture so make sure you get input from different stakeholders with a variety of skills and levels. Survey leaders, support staff, middle management, social-media aware legal counsel, PR, marketing, and a few “digital natives.
- Nurture Innovation Culture: problem solving, lateral thinking, idea-sharing, learning and evaluation are core to social media so should be core to the policy. Policies that work are those which help shape culture in a positive way. Keywords to think about are consistency, connection, creativity, transparency.
- Triple The Policies: Separate the policies based on role. You’ll only need three: one policy for Recruitment due to their different strategic objectives and brand ambassadorship. Another for employees while at work (think about trade secrets, competitive intelligence, client data or relationships, internal-use-only, etc). A third would be for employees on what they can say about their employer from within their “personal lives.”
- Legal Aid: Attorneys cost money but so do lawsuits. Get it reviewed by lawyers with experience in social media. Advice from your college buddy with a JD won’t help unless this is their practice specialty.
- Educate About Privacy: What happens online stays online – which means it is quite easily made public and permanent. Ignorance of privacy concerns won’t protect your organization or your employees from other people’s malice. There’s an opportunity to use the policy(s) to educate on how to protect their privacy rights, and why they would want to. Explaining the consequences (privacy and safety) of certain online behavior may be enough to dissuade them without legislating behavior. While you are at it, there’s a great argument to providing your recruiters with some concise “where, how and why” training
- Rolling Stones Gather No Dust: The ”interwebs” change very frequently. Check in with your policy every six month to make sure its relevant.
- Regulatory Compliance: HIPAA, FERPA, FMLA, EEOC, OFCCP, ADA, FCRA regulations DO apply online. Your social media policies can remind employees (like hiring managers) that these regulations require adherence.
I know policies are not the most exciting topic, but I hope you now have a tool to get started :)