The fine line between work and personal

Gap’s new social media policy: The “OMG guess what happened at work” guide has been released by the brands social media team, in-house, in the hope to re-gain some brand buzz, with the help of fellow GAP employees.

The e-guide distributed amongst Gap staff, titled “OMG guess what happened at work,” encourages employees to participate in social media, whilst keeping the companies best interests in mind. Outlining a few simple housekeeping rules, even the warnings were kept informal:

“These guidelines are important—because if you don’t follow them a few things could happen: your posts can get deleted, we could lose customers and investors, we could get in trouble, or, worst of all, you could even lose your job … So do the right thing, stick to the guidelines.”

Whilst I am all for companies embracing social media, throwing out the robot speak, and encouraging the whole team to get on board. I understand that that is what it takes for any social media strategy to really work.

I do not support this idea that companies can control what employees decide to share, or talk about on their personal social media profiles separate to work. I hope that Gap is providing the relevant employees with social media accounts.

In the words of Seth Godin, “The industrial revolution is over.”

I understand that if we are employed by a company to work, then we should be respectful of what we do in that time; However, if a company would like to encourage employees to speak about them on Facebook, Linkedin, or any other social network, and hand out pre-warning of job loss for misuse, then it is only fair that employees are given work accounts, separate to their personal profile as standard practice.

In the same light employees are expected to be mindful of company interests at work and to a certain extent out with working hours, then companies should be expected to respect their employee’s personal space too. This is a line that is too often smudged.

There has to be boundaries, and if you are an employee I would certainly be asking questions before you sign a contract.

Here are a few basic and initial questions Gap employees should be asking:

  • Will you provide me with a work email address, or log in details for a work Facebook/Twitter account?
  • What exactly is classed as misuse?
  • Can I have a copy of that policy?

Find out more, here.

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