Repeating myself (about social media)

Blogging déjà vu

I am fairly sure I have written this blog post before.

I am bored of saying it.  Maybe you are bored of reading it.

But I’m posting it again all the same.

Scrolling through my Twitter timeline this morning, I came across a post about social media and employment law.  I’m not going to name and shame; it’s not about that. It’s about wanting to see something different.  Pretty please.

You have probably seen the like before.  Stuff about all of the risks.  About the potential claims just waiting to be made against you by employees and interview candidates alike.  About what should be in the policy and what you should and shouldn’t do and, meh, it was so risk averse.

Misconceptions built in.  Myth number one in the post?  Older people can’t or don’t or won’t use social media. So it might be age discrimination.  Or something.

First things first.  That isn’t true.  And peddling that particular myth is right up there with all the millennial clickbait crap. Social media isn’t just for kids you know.

It’s hard wired into the HR profession to consider risk.  It is part of the job after all.  Only sometimes we take it too far.  We write all the policies and issue all the warnings.  Unfortunately, we sometimes forget along the way to balance the potential rewards with the possible risks.

Transparency.  Internal communication opened right up. Dialogue not monologue.  Breaking down the silos. Connecting leaders to the people that work for them.  Employee advocacy.  Totally new ways of learning.  Bringing the outside in.  Collaboration.  Employer brand.

The benefits are many.  I could go on, but there’s a whole back catalogue of blog posts where I bang on about it enough.

My request of HR folks is this.

Worry less.

Some people will do dumb stuff on social media.  Most of them won’t.

Some employees will do stuff on social media that might find its way into the employment tribunal.  Some employers will do that too.  But most of them won’t.

But many of you, any of you, can have the benefits if you put the work in to making your place more social.

So next time you read some employment law social media write a policy now (we can help you with that of course) clickbait, then just close the link and read something (anything) less risk averse instead.

Pretty please.


PS – more on social media myths from my co-author and collaborator Tim Scott here.

2 thoughts on “Repeating myself (about social media)

  1. Um, I know you folks wrote the book… But ACAS guidelines suggest you consider attraction methods and the impact of social media on likelihood of application from different demographics and I think that’s prudent (as an opportunity or risk). We know different tools are used to a greater or lesser degree by different segments. Whether it is illegal or not shouldn’t be the test for the rightness of something, so I’m glad people are weighing up both risks and opportunity. It’s always a weakness to see one and not the other.

    And I’m not sure conflating attraction strategy with the broader in company usage helps clarify things.

    And you know I usually like your stuff – so all due respect etc etc, but I think I was in that conversation and it was a healthy discussion with a smart person. DDS

    • It wasn’t the twitter exchange that sparked this blog post but an article from a law firm. I’ve no issue with sensible and balanced advice on social media (although tbh I think that the ACAS stuff is dated and needs a refresh). It’s just that this particular piece wasn’t that. Too many generalisations about how certain people don’t use social and there is claim around every corner. This sort of advice is fed to HR people all too often in my experience, which leads to people being more fearful than they need to be about its application and potential benefits in the workplace.

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