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Trend 7: Social media and the workplace

2024 is the year to get clear

Published on

January 19, 2024


Note: This post is part of our Special Report: Top 10 people & culture trends for 2024.

There is no such thing as complete privacy on social media. Even a post shared on a private channel can be captured and shared broadly, quickly damaging the reputation of employees and employers alike.  

So, where do you draw the line between professional and personal activity on very public social media platforms, especially when it’s so easy to identify someone (and hence, their affiliation with your organization) through a quick Google search?

While many think that freedom of expression means having the right to express personal opinions on any social platform outside of work (especially on so-called private channels) employees are always expected to adhere to their employer’s values and code of conduct, as well as all overarching laws in the jurisdictions where they live.  

This is especially important today, when many turn to social media to share personal opinions about major geopolitical events. Since everyone has varying points of view and comes from different backgrounds, sometimes these opinions can be hurtful or offensive to others, including the person’s colleagues, as well as their employer’s clients and community.  

Time to update your social media policy

A survey of Canadian employers last year found that only 18% have a formal social media policy for employees.

And with social media use projected to grow, ongoing, rapid advances in AI and the increased use of deepfakes, we think 2024 will see more employers updating their policy to clarify the acceptable use of social media by their employees.  

Tips for 2024

  • Clarify that your employees’ online activity, regardless of the platform, must adhere to your organization’s guiding principles (your values).  
  • Have all employees—existing and new—review and sign your social media policy. Ensure they understand the notion of privacy and the consequences if their online activity isn’t aligned with your values as an employer.  
  • Conduct regular training on your policy and on the proper use of any platforms used for business purposes, such as LinkedIn.
  • Conduct periodic reviews of your policy to ensure it’s current. For example, you may need to update it to reflect advances in the use of deepfakes (people using AI to pose as employees of yours, saying things that could be damaging to your brand).
  • Prepare or update your corporate incident response plan to quickly respond in the case of deepfakes and minimize financial and reputational damage.  

Read our next trend to watch in 2024: Trend 8: Upskilling and reskilling: It’s back to school for everyone in 2024.

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