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Technology use policies are essential

Yesterday the new social media rage was Facebook, today it's Pintrest. Yesterday the new device was an iPad, today it's a tablet computer. The only thing certain is it will be something new tomorrow.

The technology landscape in the workplace changes every day with new devices and social media applications always coming and going. So how is management to keep up with this constantly changing landscape?

Having policies in place to establish a consistent and objective framework for technology and social media use in the workplace is a good place to start. Some organizations are choosing to go the route of a stand-alone social media policy, while others are integrating social media into their organization's "personal use of government technology" policies.

Several issues to consider when developing a technology/social media use policy include personal use of organizational devices, use of personal devices in the workplace, data and password security, the city's social media strategy and alignment with organizational HR policies. (See related article on mobile device security.)

When developing a technology/social media use policy, here are some questions to consider:

Use of personal technology in the workplace

  • Will you allow staff members to access work email on their personal devices?

  • How does use of personal devices to access work email affect nonexempt employees who may access email outside of work hours?

  • Will you limit the use of personal social media or online games on personal devices during work hours?

Use of employer-owned technology devices for personal use

  • Will you allow any personal use of employer-owned technology devices?

  • If you allow personal use, how detailed do you want to make the parameters for use?

Monitoring and security

  • Is your policy clear about privacy expectations on employer-owned technology devices?

  • Do you have a policy regarding password security, frequency of changing passwords and process for reporting theft of a technology device?

Organization's social media strategy

  • Do you have a policy in place for responding to negative posts?

  • Are specific employees designated to post on and respond to social media sites?

  • Do you have a strategy for using your social media sites?

Overall personnel considerations

  • Is your technology use/social media policy tied to other personnel policies such as disciplinary action, hours of work, antidiscrimination, antiharassment and violence in the workplace policies.

The Municipal Association's technology use policy is available to be used as a template or starting place.