Nowadays everyone and their great-aunt has a Facebook page while many professionals see LinkedIn as a key business tool. Businesses also feel the benefits of social networking and many use these sites as tools for recruitment, marketing and communications. However, despite the volume of organisations using social media, there are still many business issues arising from increased use of social networking sites. (see for example my earlier blog - Facebook Faux Pas)

Now ACAS, concerned by findings that the "misuse of the internet and social media by workers costs Britain's economy billions of pounds every year" and the problems of "issues like time theft, defamation, cyber bullying, freedom of speech and the invasion of privacy" has commissioned research by the Institute for Employment Studies who have reported back with the following simple but useful tips for employers:

  • "draw up a policy on social networking;
  • treat 'electronic behaviour' in the same way you would treat 'non-electronic behaviour'; and
  • react reasonably to issues around social networking by asking 'what is the likely impact on the organisation?'."

In my experience a clear and well drafted social networking policy is an excellent place for any employer to start but there is a bit more to it than that. As well as this advice ACAS have also put together a series of fact-sheets, each focussing on different impacts social networking sites can have on a business which employers may also find useful. They can be accessed here.