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Social Media and Personal Workplace Relationships

Corporate Use of Social Media

This policy relates to the professional use of social media within NHSGGC. It includes all such use whether on a network PC or on an employee’s own device.

‘Social media’ refers to websites and networks where users share photos, videos, opinions, or reviews. Blogs, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter are all examples. Social media offers opportunities for us to engage with patients and communities.
The misuse of social networks carries significant reputational, technical and legal risks. This policy is to provide clear advice and guidance to employees on the use of social media in a professional capacity.

The policy sets out a process for the limited and authorised use of social media for professional purposes. This is to allow the organisation to realise the benefits of social media whilst ensuring we assess and manage the risks.

Top Tips on using the Corporate Use of Social Media Policy

  • This policy applies to all employees of NHSGGC. Full-time or part-time, on permanent contracts, fixed-term or bank (as and when required) contracts.
  • It covers the professional use of social media within NHSGGC. It does not cover what you discuss, comment on or publish in your own time on your own personal profile. The policy on personal use of social media covers personal use.
  • Any information published online is accessible around the world within seconds. It will be available to the public for a long time. This makes it important to stick to the common principles shared across all forms of social media.
  • The policy of NHSGGC is that social media is only to be used for business purposes if authorised. General access to social networking sites is not permitted on the NHSGGC network. Access to these sites will be blocked unless authorisation is granted.

Policy

Forms

You can obtain a word version of the associated application forms using the link below:

Corporate Use of Social Media Policy – Word version application forms 

Personal Use of Social Media

This policy applies to what staff write, post or stream on social media sites in a personal capacity which may relate to their work.

We recognise that many employees take part in social networking sites outside of work hours. In the majority of cases this is uncomplicated and trouble-free.

The intention of this policy is not to interfere with an employee’s personal life. Yet there are potential risks/nuisances associated with the use of social media. Risks which individuals may not even be aware of. Erosion of the boundary between work-life and home-life can have a negative effect on the relationship between an individual and their employer.

We need to provide our staff with clear guidelines on what is and what is not considered to be appropriate personal use of social media. This is to safeguard the reputations of individuals and the organisation.

Top Tips on using the Personal Use of Social Media policy

  • The main principle of this policy is that conduct on-line should meet the high standards of behaviour which we expect of our employees.
  • Employees should take care about what they post on the internet. Individual privacy settings do not always stop others seeing and distributing your content.
  • All employees are responsible for any information they make available on-line. This applies whether posting during work hours, during breaks or when not at work.
  • If you identify NHSGGC as your employer, make it clear when publishing your opinions that these are your own personal views. You should make it clear that they do not represent the views of NHSGGC.

Policy

Guidance

What is the purpose of the policy?

NHSGGC recognises that many employees participate in social networking sites outside of work hours. In the majority of cases this is uncomplicated and trouble-free. The intention of this policy is not to interfere with an employee’s personal life however there are potential risks/nuisances associated with the use of social media; risks which individuals may not even be aware of.

What is Social media?

The term ‘social media’ is used to describe on-line technologies and practices that are used to share information, knowledge and opinions. Social media services and tools can involve a combination of technology, telecommunications and some form of online social interaction and can use a variety of different formats, e.g. text, images, video and audio. It includes social networking (e.g. Facebook, MySpace, Bebo and Linkedin), blogging applications (e.g. Twitter, Blackberry Instant Messaging, Blogger and WordPress), multimedia sharing and networking applications (e.g. YouTube, Flickr and Skype), information sharing sites (e.g. Wikipedia), review and opinion sites (e.g. Google Answers and Yahoo! Answers), forums (e.g. Mumsnet, Digital Spy and iVillage), dating sites and personal web pages. This list is not exhaustive.

What are employee’s responsibilities whilst at work?

As a general rule, NHSGGC employees are not allowed access to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter on the NHSGGC network unless authorised for business purposes (see Policy on Corporate Use of Social Media). Where employees bring their own personal mobile devices into the workplace, they must limit their use of these devices in relation to personal use of social media to official rest breaks, such as lunch-times.

What are employee’s responsibilities when not at work?

All employees are responsible for any information they make available on-line whether this was posted during work hours, during breaks or when not at work. The Board considers employees to be responsible and accountable for information contained on their social networking page or blog.

Employees need to be aware of what is posted/uploaded to sites they control and that they would be expected to manage any inappropriate material responsibly.
Employees must not…

  • Send information, forward e-mails or send images (e.g. photos, cartoons, graphics) on-line about NHSGGC, its services, facilities, staff, patients or third parties, which are confidential, defamatory, discriminatory, harassing, illegal, threatening, intimidating or which may incite hatred (e.g sectarianism/racism/homophobia).
  • Direct defamatory, threatening or intimidating comments on-line towards other NHSGGC employees. If they do so, this will be judged in terms of the amount of harm caused and the size of the audience who will see the comments (e.g. how many people would actually see the comments on-line and just how bad were those comments considered to be?).
  • Send or post images/photos of patients, services users or employees in the workplace, that would not otherwise be considered to be a public place, unless the express authority of the subject has been secured and that consent is based upon a full understanding of how the image will be used.
  • Employees will inevitably discuss aspects of their working day with others, either face-to-face, over the telephone or on-line.
  • Employees must however be cautious about discussing work-related issues and complaints in a manner which could cause reputational damage to individuals, their own reputation or that of the Board as their employer. Legitimate concerns should always be addressed through the appropriate Board complaint policies e.g.Grievance, Bullying & Harrassment and/or whistle-blowing procedures.
  • Use their works e-mail address to register on a social network or e-commerce website (e.g. eBay, Amazon, Groupon)

Breaches of the Personal Use of Social Media Policy

Any breaches of this policy may be subject to the Board’s Disciplinary Policy and other associated policies such as Dignity at Work. (In applying these policies full use will be made of the supportive improvement provisions of the Disciplinary Policy.)

Employees should be aware…

That if they disclose the name of the Board as their employer, they should make it clear when publishing their opinions on-line, that these are their own personal views and that they do not represent the views of NHSGGC.

The HR Support and Advice Unit can be contacted on 0141 278 2700 if you have any further questions or need advice on this policy area.

Personal Relationships in the Workplace

NHSGGC recognises that employees who work together may be in, or form, personal or family relationships with colleagues.

This guidance has been developed to protect the integrity and welfare of employees, managers and the organisation in any such circumstances. The guidance must be applied in conjunction with appropriate professional guidelines and codes of conduct and relevant NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde workforce policies e.g. Dignity at Work and the Staff Code of Conduct.