March 4, 2013
I was quite surprised by our recent social media and the law report that showed 19% of companies didn’t have a social media policy. I did think that wasn’t too bad.
But last week, we conducted a Mock Tribunal looking at the impact of social media on employment law. What was clear, as I talked to brands in the break, is that whilst many had a policy in place, it was either out of date or still in draft. More importantly, it was not well communicated to employees.
Getting a policy or employee guidelines together can seem daunting. And whilst you must involve a legal team in finessing the documents (after all it will matter when it comes to potential litigation), you can
do a lot of the legwork by looking at the structures and content of other policies.
So I have pulled together a list of 30 policies written for the UK or Europe. There are even more if you include the US, but I find that the legal premise is different enough to make them a bit misleading for those of us in Europe.
- BBC: Covers conflicts of interest alongside editorial integrity and independence. Designed for journalists and staff alike. https://bbc.in/XqEpyY
- BT: These guidelines are comprehensive and based on wider employment policies and governance. Some links within the document are only available to BT employees. https://bit.ly/Wlahbd
- Foreign & Commonwealth Office: Encouragement is placed on staff to make full use of opportunities offered by social media. The policy includes simple guidelines to follow in terms of person accounts, however highlights that you should avoid taking part in political or public activity which may compromise the impartial service of the government. https://bit.ly/Z5Fuf1
- Tesco: These guidelines cover the difference between speaking ‘on behalf of’ Tesco and speaking ‘about’ Tesco. Short and sweet online rules for clarity with a fuller policy available at HR. https://bit.ly/YDIlK3
- NHS (Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber): Rather nice section on training implications in an easy to use table format. Quite a lot of detail. https://bit.ly/YThRZh
- JCB: The policy is intended for directors and employees, indicating that employees should take care not to mislead readers or reveal confidential information. https://bit.ly/YDKsxp
- Vodafone: Not quite a full blown social media policy, but nestled in a code of conduct is Vodafone’s Social Media Rules of Engagement. https://bit.ly/12jeKOj
- Dell UK : Written so it is easy to understand, it still makes it clear that the document is a policy. Straightforward the guidance is also available in multiple translations. https://dell.to/XH5u1Z
- Marks and Spencer: Small paragraph on social media with a code of ethics, indicating that employees should be mindful and act in the best interests of the company. Full document held on a private network for employees. https://bit.ly/YaYgCu
- Volvo: Social media guidelines for employees regarding their conduct on social media, with reference to responsibility, honesty and privacy. Special emphasis is placed on protecting the relationship with customers, employees and partners. https://bit.ly/ZH4WbI
- Depaul UK: Broad guidelines with an emphasis on privacy settings. https://bit.ly/YE2FLa
- Parliament: Very strict usage guidelines with a clear path of authority, regulations and processes. Questionnaires and templates are also included in the document. https://bit.ly/WlxIRV
- Royal Academy of Dance: Straightforward guidelines with a rather smart glossary of terms. Plenty of further links to more information requiring a little more effort for more detailed regulations. https://bit.ly/YOrzfs
- Scottish Women’s Football: Offering guidance, rather than policy to various clubs. Very clear emphasis on communication with children or young persons and details on locking down privacy settings. https://bit.ly/149mSwl
- National Ice Skating Association: Policy applies to all forms of social media; they are basic guidelines with regard to how you engage with the different social platforms appropriately. https://bit.ly/Xfcbcd
- Tramslink: Comprehensive policy with some useful Q&A style examples that allow staff to undertsand some of the potentially grey areas. https://bit.ly/Y40tN8
- ASDA: Easy to understand and strong clear communication of three main points that could lead to dismissal. https://bit.ly/XHB140
- Liverpool University: More of a framework, this policy is aimed at students. It makes clear the risks and that opinions need to be separated from the university brand. https://bit.ly/13tTCVt
- London Ambulance Service: Making it clear that social media use during working hours is not allowed. Clear rules on how they can behave out of hours should they associate themselves with the service. https://bit.ly/YJx6lr
- British Medical Association: Not so much a policy, but guidance for doctors and those in the medical profession. https://bit.ly/Vm6d9c
- TNT: Really visual guidelines that help bring some of the ethos, policy and rules to life.https://bit.ly/YJysfZ Rather interesting write-up on why they chose this type of format and the thinking behind the policy and guidelines https://bit.ly/13wD2Eq
- Adidas: Simple straightforward guidelines in a chatty, but clear tone. Lots on confidentiality and sharing internal information. https://bit.ly/13vVGMb
- The Trainline: Two page policy led guidelines with some detail using social in a crisis situation. https://bit.ly/WySTKR
- G4S: A focus on staying legal, understanding privacy setting and what to do when things go wrong. https://bit.ly/WyWpoP
- Ministry Of Defence: Unsurprisingly a detailed and tight policy with clear rules on requests for authorisation. That said, the language is easy to understand and the format very readable. https://bit.ly/14dmU6d
- Thames Valley Police: Covers everything from how to tweet about crimes to what to do in a national emergency.https://bit.ly/VqAbZI
- Mitie: Short and to the point, this policy aims to not only protect the company, but also clients, suppliers and partners.https://bit.ly/13zPxiq
- E.ON: A short but detailed guidance policy. Explains the reasoning behind some of the rules in an easy to read format. https://bit.ly/13yJ7zN
- The Guardian: Specific guidelines for journalists and editorial staff. https://bit.ly/XwDKvX
- Wolverhampton Homes: These guidelines are focused on the company’s vision and values rather than compliance. https://bit.ly/YGHIlb
Reading through this selection of policies I am struck by the diversity. Some policies are very legal speak and rule driven, whilst others are softer and focused on communicating the core principles of social media engagement to staff. And a few of them are brilliantly creative.
Either way, I hope the list proves useful and that you get your policy up to date, take it off draft and lift it off the page!
And if you think I have missed a publicly available policy off the list please comment and I will add them on.
After discovering the diversity of company policies if. decided to go one step further, and has created a best practice paper for social media and the law. You can download it for free and refer to it at any time. It can help you to make sense of common UK laws with easy-to-read tips that are well worth knowing.