Why social media induction is a must for temporary workers

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There’s a knack to onboarding temporary staff quickly and efficiently at the start of a placement. Most companies carry out an induction process which includes a run through of the policies and procedures they expect workers to follow.

Even if this is just a shortened version of the induction new permanent staff receive, it’s something recomended by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) in a recent industry report.

What about social media?

With social media sites like Facebook and Twitter now playing an increasingly significant role in people’s daily lives, there’s so much scope for issues arising in the workplace.

There can be a blur where work ends and life begins, and it takes seconds to ‘like’, share or comment on a photo or update. This means it’s easy for an ill-judged Tweet or Facebook comment to damage reputations, privacy and even company security. This is as well as the potential for causing personal offence to other employees.

That’s why employers need to give staff real clarity on this topic. Not just how much personal use of social networking sites is acceptable during working hours - most companies agree it’s fine for people to use the internet for personal purposes during breaks - but also how employees behave when they’re online.

Setting clear guidelines

At HR GO, we know how important it is that the temp staff we place with clients are aware of the pitfalls of social media.

To make things clear we’ve recently updated our handbook for temporary workers to cover some vital do’s and don’ts around social networking sites, including:

  •        they must not identify who they’re working for
  •        they must not behave in a way that’s detrimental to their employer
  •        they must be careful not to allow their interactions on any sites to damage relationships between members of staff, colleagues and clients.

Be as social-specific as you can

How does your induction process for temporary staff shape up? Do you explain policies and procedures about the use of social media at work?

Depending on your business or workforce, it may not be enough to say that you expect temporary employees to exercise good judgement and common sense. Or merely caution temporary employees from doing anything that would cause offence to people or your collegues.

ACAS recommends that a social media policy includes “what is and what is not acceptable for general behaviour in the use at work of the internet, emails, smart phones and social media, such as networking websites, blogs and tweets”. It has solid guidance on how to write a social media policy on its website, including a tip on treating electronic behaviour as you would non-electronic behaviour.

What one person feels is acceptable on social media, another may feel is unacceptable. So to avoid confusion you may need to spell things out. And for absolute fairness, best practice is making sure all employees - temporary as well as permanent - are required to follow the same social media policy.

Social media has changed how many of us interact, live our lives and even work day to day. It’s not surprising that business needs to keep a firm grasp on what that might mean for the safety and wellbeing of their workforce - and their reputation as a company as a whole.

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