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How to Deal with Employees’ Bad Behavior on Social Media?

May 20, 2015

Wednesday saw the publication of two very different articles about how employers can deal with mistakes made by their employees on social media.


At The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf advocates for a principle whereby employers resist the pressures of online mobs and made decisions about firing based solely on competencies and character that are relevant to the employee’s work. But Joyce Rosenberg of the Associated Press declares, “When employees offend on social media, an owner’s best option may be to show them the door.” And she cites several examples of employers who have done just that.


What’s missing from both of these articles is a discussion of how a local social media company can work with employers in order to counteract negative publicity acquired from employees’ personal use of social media.


Firing the employee may not be the “best option” so much as it is the speediest option and the one that requires less strategic planning. But if you or your local social media company are willing to put some work into addressing the problem, you can use social media to make it perfectly clear that your company stands against whatever offense your employee caused, even if its stands behind that employee’s right to keep his or her job.


An HR response may not be the right response to a social media problem. The solution should come via social media as well. And indeed, only such a response can show your customers that you truly care about the issues that are important to them, and are not simply eager to make the issue go away as quickly as possible.

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