Employers Beware of Cyber-Bullies in the Workplace

indexThe increased use of social media platforms may be affecting your company’s morale.  A recent study from AVG Technologies finds the mis-use of social media infiltrating the workplace with negative effects.  Over half of those employees surveyed believe their company is responsible for online behavior of co-workers, but 25 percent say they aren’t protected from cyber-bullying within existing company policies.

What constitutes cyber-bullying?  Four out of five (80 percent ) believe that sending unpleasant or defamatory remarks to or  about a co-worker constitutes cyber-bullying.  Other respondents find romantic advances from colleagues or supervisors, negative comments about their work or appearance, and secretive discussions about their work performance all to be forms of cyber-bullying.

In addition to affecting company morale, cyber-bullying may also lead to workplace violence.  Fifty one percent of the surveyed workers admit they would confront colleagues in person if they felt they were a victim of cyber-bullying.

While you can’t control everything your employees post in social media, as a small business owner you need to maintain a written social media policy.  Review the policy with your team so everyone is aware of what’s acceptable and what’s not.  Define the consequences for the mis-use of social media.  Most importantly, encourage employees to careful about what they post on social media platforms.  Bottom line:  If you don’t want to see it in the headlines of the New York Times, don’t post it.

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