Most New Zealand employers have no social network policies

Firms increasingly having problems with disgruntled former workers posting negative comments
||Last Updated: 11/09/2010

The majority of employers in New Zealand don't have any policies in place to regulate the use of social media websites in the workplace, according to a new survey.

The survey of 520 New Zealand companies by staffing firm Manpower found 67 per cent don't have have a policy to regulate the use of social websites, such as Facebook and Twitter.

Of employers with a policy in place, 76 per cent said minimizing productivity loss was the top benefit of the policy.

Also, 40 per cent said having a policy helped protect intellectual property and 40 per cent said the policy helped protect the company's reputation.

An employer group has been seeing an increase in the number of businesses having problems with workers using social networking sites to badmouth their bosses.

Companies have been approaching the Employer and Manufacturers Association (EMA) with problems arising from employees using social media, such as workers making negative online comments about former employers, said David Lowe, advisory services manager for EMA.

Instead of calling in lawyers, Lowe recommended a simple phone call, and a request for the comment to be removed, could solve the situation.

The EMA is researching the legal technicalities of employees using social media and plans to be advising employers shortly on whether the standard employment provisions cover social media or whether more needs to be done, said Lowe.

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