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Social media conduct in the organisational context

Guidelines for employers and employees to curb social media risks

The past year has seen a number of controversies that have made headlines and in some cases, have highlighted the gaps between employee understanding and accountability. Employers have a responsibility to implement social media policies to protect employees from crossing the line and to uphold the reputation of the company.

The following thought piece explores South African cases of employee social media misconduct and the consequences faced by employees as well as the organisations. The article investigates potential brand and financial impacts of reputational damage due to social media blunders. According to common law, any action that brings a company into disrepute regardless of the intention can result in disciplinary action and lead up to termination.

Deloitte provides a variety of services for employers to govern social media risks depending on the organisational needs. The article also offers recommendations on social media “do’s and don’ts” for employees and steps that companies should have in place.

The article advises that employees should tread cautiously on social media at all times and steer clear of posting controversial content. Personal opinions could be perceived as a representation of a company due to public association of an employee with a particular company. It is emphasised that social media risks should be on the agenda of the board of directors, who are ultimately responsible of the overall performance of the company which includes brand identity and public perception.

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