Social Media Policy- CAP Services

Photo courtesy of capserv.org

The intention of this post is to look at the current social media policy for the organization I work with.  I will insert comments based on the knowledge gained in this course.  The things I add will be designated with **.

Social Media Guidelines for CAP Services’ Workforce

Workforce includes staff, volunteers, interns, members of governance and advisory committees and other persons whose conduct, in the performance of work for CAP Services, is under the direct control of CAP, whether or not they are paid by CAP Services.

**It is vital that it was designated who all counts as CAP Services’ workforce.  This is all encompassing for people who are directly employed by CAP and people who are contracted to do work for us.  This would also include the Community Manager whether that was someone internally or externally hired.**

CAP has created the following guidelines to help workforce members understand how communications through social media and blogs may overlap with their work world and their personal lives.  CAP recognizes that opportunities offered by social media sites and blogs are subject to constant changes and enhancements; CAP will continuously address these new opportunities and challenges through this medium and continue to update this guidance.

**Important to recognize that social media is fluid, ever changing.  This helps for any future change that may occur that will affect the organization in a different way. **

Today, the majority of workforce members of CAP have email accounts and the capacity to access the Internet.  CAP is seeking to find a balance as it relates to social media.  On the one hand, there are emerging opportunities to leverage social media like Facebook that CAP has yet to fully understand.  This includes new ways to establish a positive CAP Services presence on a wider scale, to collaborate with community leaders, and perhaps most importantly, to engage our clients and stakeholders.  On the other hand, there are significant concerns about social media being a workforce distraction that negatively impacts productivity (especially given the seemingly addictive nature of Facebook and other social media sites).

CAP Services management will continue to evaluate and amend its social media policy to find the right balance.  As of this writing, CAP is not blocking access to some social media sites because CAP encourages organizational innovation. However, some departments and work groups may develop policies that restrict the use of social media sites to any number of degrees (e.g., total ban, specific locations, specific times, etc.).

All workforce members providing services at or on behalf of a department or work unit that adopts a more strict policy on the use of social media and blogs must comply with the more strict policy.

**This recognizes that the people who are writing this policy are not fully aware of the different functions of social media.  The fact that some worksites will still be banned from social media sites is concerning, and I would like to work in conjunction with management to educate them on the importance of integrating social media in our marketing plan in a positive way.  This paragraph surprised me, because the people writing this have some misconceptions about social media. **

There are some simple guidelines to keep in mind when using social media sites.  Some are based on existing policies.

First And Foremost, Respect the Privacy of Our Clients

CAP  workforce members should never publicly make comments about clients or the services provided to a specific client, including online.  Even acknowledging providing services to a specific client is an unacceptable disclosure of client confidentiality. If posting photos at your personal social media page post only those taken at events in which the public was invited. To protect the boundaries between worker and client, CAP requires that employees not “friend” individuals to whom they are providing services.

**This portion of the policy should include a statement about clients who chose to follow the social media site.  For example, if clients identify themselves as receiving services, it would be more likely that they could be included in on pictures.  Also, if a social media outlet other than Facebook was selected as a social media outlet for the organization, we could regulate who had access to the organizational information and could be a “safer” place for clients.   However, as it stands, there is only one CAP Facebook profile, so many of the clients try to seek out the individual people they work with at the organization, but that is their personal accounts.  We have already run into some gray areas here.  Some families have a computer, but not a phone, so they message their home visitor (or like worker) on their personal accounts.**

Be Respectful When Online

Don’t post statements on social media sites (or any other medium) that may harm the reputation of CAP Services or its trade allies.

Be a Productive, High-Performing Workforce Member 

CAP’s policy is to block only web sites that are clearly inconsistent with our values. CAP does not consider Facebook or other social media sites as such sites.  However, many find social media sites to be addictive in nature.  Workforce members should not be checking Facebook updates or using other social media sites for personal, non-work related purposes when they are supposed to be doing their job.  Individual worksites or departments may set policies restricting Internet and social media site access.  Employees in those departments or sites are expected to follow the more restrictive policy.  Workforce members authorized to visit social media sites and keep CAP’s Facebook page updated should avoid doing so in the presence of clients or visitors.  Even if access to social media sites is related to work, it may be perceived by our clients or visitors as neglectful of work duties.

Your capmail.org e-mail address should not be used for notifications from Facebook or other personal social media sites. If you set up a personal Facebook page, you must use a personal e-mail address.

**This again is an educational opportunity for administration.  It is important to be productive at work, however, with the importance of social media and the need for a community manager, being on social media sites could be the definition of being a productive workforce member.  Also, the clause about not allowing clients to see you on social media policy shows that education could extend to the clients we serve.**

Realize That Social Media Posts Are NOT Private

Even though there are privacy controls on sites such as Facebook and other social media sites, you should assume that anything posted on a website will be seen by the general public, as well as your employer.  Don’t rely on privacy settings:

• It is possible for those settings to be accidentally set to more open settings;

• Friends can copy and paste what you post to more open forums; and

• You may not remember everyone that has access to what you post.

**This is important to point out to staff as some of them may feel like they have privacy settings that will keep everyone out.  This is not always the case.  We have found that many staff have access to other staff based on their connections.  Also, staff have printed out materials from their co-workers pages and given them to the person’s supervisors.**

Consider Your Reputation and/or Future Employment Opportunities

You should consider that everything you post online begins to build a lifetime record of you and your activities.  Increasingly, employers will search this online history using Google or web sites like pipl.com.

**I think this goes without saying and could be omitted from our social media policy.**

The Internet is your permanent record

What is posted on the Internet is cached by Google  and can be copied to numerous other places out of your control.  As you post comments on social networking sites that are attributable to you, consider the impact those comments will have when read by potential employers, friends, family, law enforcement or others.

Be Respectful of Your Co-workers

Remember, you have to work with these people.  Use common sense. Avoid gossip.

**This portion could be expanded on.  For example:  Any infraction would be breaking the CAP Services Code of Ethics and could be grounds for a reprimand or termination.  Also, it could be phrased differently. For example:  Professionalism must extend outside of the workplace with the people you work with.  Avoid gossip and any derogatory remarks about the people you work with.”

Social Media Opportunities

At CAP Services we recognize social networking is changing the way people communicate.  Facebook and other web sites have created an opportunity to change the way we work that we do not yet fully understand.

**Again, this is an educational opportunity for administrative staff.**

CAP Needs a Tech Savvy Workforce

The skills you develop using the Internet and social media sites improve the IT skills that CAP workforce members need to compete in the future.  We understand that tech savvy people check their Facebook page several times a day.  In many ways, using social media sites has replaced the phone as a means for staying in touch.  While we have concerns about workforce member productivity, we want to support the lifestyle of the tech savvy worker; however, do not check your personal pages and blogs while at work. Unlike other companies, we have decided not to block Facebook or other social media sites at the system level; instead, we expect workforce members to use this access responsibly and ask our managers to address irresponsible use through appropriate corrective action, not technical restrictions.

**This clause acknowledges the differences between staff.  I like that they leave it up to the manager to address inappropriate use of the tools by actions other than restricting access.  This will be a tool managers can use to mentor and train staff on appropriate uses of social media instead of banning it.**

The Best Advertising

We believe CAP’s best advertising often comes from workforce members sharing news of CAP’s mission, goals, programs and achievements with their family, friends and communities.  A well-written post on Facebook or similar social media site about a new service or the success CAP is having in achieving our mission and transforming people and communities can have a great impact. The fact that it is coming from a person that is trusted in their community will mean the message has weight. It is OK to tell people you work for CAP Services in your social profiles.  CAP is very proud of our workforce members and believes our reputation is enhanced when people know the quality of our workforce. CAP recognizes workforce members will talk about work online, but advises it be done in a responsible, legal manner.  We hope workforce members will write about positive experiences they have working at CAP Services and with their co-workers.  We are hoping workforce members help educate their communities, both online and by traditional communications, about the CAP’s mission and the services we provide.

**I would take out “We hope” and implement a policy instead or take it out all together.**

CAP management understands that we have discussed many restrictions regarding information sharing.  The natural result may be hesitancy on the part of some workforce members to share anything.  To assist you, we will be working on communicating the types of things you should feel free to share on social media sites. To start, we encourage you to become a fan of CAP Services our Facebook page and invite others to do so as well.

**I like that this leaves it open for staff to have input into the policy and the growing of social media with the organization. 

Workforce members are always welcome to share CAP fan page posts with their friends.  CAP management will work to indentify communications that can be shared on social media sites and those that are for internal use only.  We will also develop guidance for workforce members regarding the day-to-day activities in their work place that are appropriate to post.  For example, we would love for everyone on Facebook to tell their friends about availability of quality child care at the Children’s’ Discovery Center in Stevens Point or the tremendous increase in earnings of the Skills Enhancement participants.

Share Your Knowledge

Everyone that works at CAP Services has knowledge, talent, and special skills.  CAP workforce members who participate in social media and blogs are encouraged to share this information on social media sites.  There is a halo effect to doing so.  If such information is shared with others, they will remember you and your organization when it comes time to receive or recommend those services or to ask for support for CAP Services.  It can also be beneficial to your own career development when you establish yourself online as an expert in your field and passionate about your vocation. If you are contacted by the media (radio, TV, newspaper, etc). as a result of your social media activities, you are expected to contact your Department Director.  CAP management wants to track these experiences, assist in providing you with guidance in responding in a knowledgeable and articulate manner.

**Based on the information provided by Cd Vann on Social Media Policy Reccomendations, I created a checklist to see where the CAP policy stood up.

Area Meets Needs Improvement
Personal Responsibility X
Understanding that the digital footprint is permanent X
Reputation Management X
Representing the Organization X
Encourage honesty and transparency X
Encourage a conversational tone X
Avoid spamming X
Respect Others X
Confidentiality X
Discourage disputes X
When in doubt, leave it out X
Avoid Irrelevancy X
Time Allocation X
Consequences and discipline X
Seek permission and ask for help X

**Many of the social media policies included information about content on their sponsored social media sites being monitored.  CAP should include a clause that states such.  It is evident that there needs to be some training for administration on the benefits and multifaceted nature of social media.  There were a lot of mentions about Facebook and many other social media sites.  Once more sites are discovered and deemed appropriate for CAP’s needs, they will need to tweak the policies based on the specifics of the other sites.**

Vision Statement for Board of Directors

-To act responsibly according to CAP Services’ Social Media Policy in its work with social media as a representative of the organization

Consultant Guidelines

The expectation of a consultant working with CAP Services is to act in accordance with CAP Services Social Media Policy.  This includes confidentiality of material and respect for clients.  In addition to this, a consultant must make all of usernames and passwords using CAP e-mail address, and must give the community manager full access to the accounts.  Upon termination of the contract, the expectation for the consultant is to not access any of the formed social media sites for the organization or share trade secrets with any other organizations they may work with or for.

 

Photo courtesy of forbes.com

 

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3 Comments

  1. Hi Monica,

    I really appreciated comparing your social media policy to the one for UWEX because we seem to have a lot of similar points. My first reaction to writing a social media policy was, “wow, overwhelming”. Once I found the policy for UWEX and read it, it made sense and covered a lot of the important points made in Olivier’s book and from materials in class. It seems that the social media policy for CAP does the same. I thought it was interesting and thoughtful that the authors of the policy acknowledged their lack of understanding and need for learning about social media. I think that implies a desire to work together with other employees in order to create a working policy for everyone in the organization.

    Your comments and suggestions on the policy were very thoughtful and informed.

    Andrea

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  2. I’ve had a little more time to read your blog post more carefully now so I’d like to add a few comments:

    I like that the author acknowledged the need to find a balance between the innovative use of social media and addiction and that this balance is constantly being evaluated and adjusted. I agree that the total ban from some work sites is troubling. Hopefully that is only until they have become more familiar with social media.

    “If posting photos at your personal social media page post only those taken at events in which the public was invited.” What about photos on the CAP Facebook profile? What’s the policy for photos on that site? The Wellness Center requires a signed photo release form from individuals or family members before posting or using photos taken at Wellness Center functions in marketing.

    “To protect the boundaries between worker and client, CAP requires that employees not “friend” individuals to whom they are providing services.” I agree that this is rather restrictive.

    “Some families have a computer, but not a phone, so they message their home visitor (or like worker) on their personal accounts.” Good thought. This comment made me go back and address this on my policy as well.

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  3. Thanks for sharing CAP’s social media policy. I found it helpful to review several policies for content and tone before writing mine and it pointed to some things I hadn’t considered.

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