3 Tips for Handling Employees on Social Media

Posted on April 20, 2016 by Michelle Locke

When it comes to the concerns of employers, even those outside of the restaurant industry, one of the most commonly heard is how to handle employees on social media—and what they may or may not be posting.

Many employers have concerns about the material that employees are posting about, and if it will reflect badly on their business. Many also worry that employees are bad mouthing them, their businesses, or restaurants on social media. These are all valid concerns.

Social media is just the newest concern that employers have to juggle when it comes to hiring, training, and managing employees. Here are our 3 tips for handling employees on social media—and how to train them to be responsible social media users!

1. Search for employees before hiring.

  • Use a potential employee’s first and last name to search. Can’t find them? That doesn’t mean they aren’t on social media—but it does mean that they don’t use their full name on social media sites, which is a benefit.
  • Is their page private? That’s fine! The more private it is, the less likely it is to ever cause problems for you or your employee.
  • Evaluate any posts you find. Remember that your employee has the right to share whatever information on social media that they want. There is a difference between a difference of opinion (political posts, memes, and more) and inappropriate material (threats, inappropriate photos and posts, etc.)

2. Train on social media.

  • Many younger employees might not see the need for professional social media yet. In your training materials, stress the importance of a professional (but still fun!) public presence.
  • Remind your employees of your rules regarding social media. Don’t want them to even mention your restaurant? Let them know! You make the rules, but make sure they know and understand them.
  • Position training to emphasize safety as well. Remind employees that posting the times of their shifts can alert criminals that they aren’t home during those times (especially if they use any apps that “check in” to their location!) and that posting their location can create a target.
  • No drama! A primary rule to make sure your employees understand is to keep any drama, in-fighting, or problems off of social media. You don’t want your employees fighting over Facebook when they should be providing great customer service!

3. Know when to draw the line.

  • Have an employee that keeps toeing the line when it comes to social media rules? Give them a warning—and if it keeps going, cut them loose.
  • Keep communication open. Make sure employees feel comfortable coming to you if they notice posts about your restaurant on social media.
  • However, don’t allow yourself to be drawn into drama and fighting among employees. Don’t be used as a pawn in their game, especially on social media!

As always, remember that when it comes to your employees, you’re the boss! You make the rules—and you should also follow your own rules regarding social media. Keep your own social media channels professional and private so you can lead by example.

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