Ongoing screening is a part of almost any company at one point or another. Whether you have a policy of performing continued background checks after a person has been hired or you make it a policy to check up on any information presented to HR about employees, almost every company performs some type of screening after the hiring process is complete.
In today’s world, “screening” employees often boils down to searching for them on social media, although some companies have resorted to actual spying. If you want to avoid a social media scandal (or its big brother, the lawsuit), you should follow a few rules when it comes to screening employees on social media. Whether you suspect an employee is faking sick and you want to see if they’re actually at home with the flu or you just want to check in, here are a few guidelines for employers when it comes to social media screening:
Come up with a policy
While many companies already have a policy in place for social media screening, lots of small or medium sized companies don’t. If you don’t have one, it’s worth putting a policy into place before you need it. Then, stick to it! For example, you might create a policy where you routinely screen social media on a regular basis – say, every 6 months. You might even wish to put into words what you’d be looking for. For example, if you want to ensure that employees aren’t “badmouthing” the company, this would be a good place to put that information.
Of course, while you’re at it, coming up with a policy for your employees’ social media use isn’t a bad idea either. That way, they’ll know for sure that they’re not supposed to write about the company, its customers or business practices, for example.
Use a social media screening company
One of the biggest challenges employers can run into when conducting background checks is biases. While it’s a problem in the hiring process, it can be an even bigger one once you actually have people working for you. As a manager, it can be challenging to take an objective look. Working with an accredited background screening service can help you get social media background screening checks without worrying that you’re being biased in the process.
Have a cause to follow up on
Your own suspicions may not be good enough to keep you out of court. One way to ensure that you’re using social media screening appropriately (beyond using a screening service) is to use social media to screen only when you have proof that something is happening there. For example, if an employee brings a social media concern to you about another employee, then you’d likely have a reason to check out their profiles.
Remember – screening employees doesn’t end when the hiring process does. To ensure a safe and productive workplace, consider regular employee screenings. Just make sure you stay on the right side of the law and conduct your screenings ethically. Follow these tips if you do decide to broach the world of social media screenings.