This session at PRIMA 2015 examined three areas of social media use that may expose government entities to risk, including personal use of social media, personnel decisions and employment references.
The speakers included Matthew Fagiana, CSC, PSS, Lenoir City of Utilities Board and Sonya Guggemos, Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust.
Social media and the workplace, is it a concern? Yes, the public sector has higher expectations for their employees, especially those with higher profiles or those involved in critical public services. Public employees need to maintain credibility and have greater access to sensitive information. Employees may accidentally release private data through seemingly harmless postings. Employees’ comments could be misinterpreted and attributed as official statements, therefore, employee postings could be harmful to a public entity’s reputation or credibility.
Risk management suggestions for using social media during the hiring process include:
- Keep records of information reviewed in the search.
- Be able to articulate a nondiscriminatory, job-related reason before disqualifying a candidate based upon the information found in the search.
- Consult with legal counsel before using any information received from the searches.
- Consider prohibiting supervisors or managers from giving professional recommendations on professional networking sites.
- If permitting professional recommendations, obtain a written release from employee.
- Apply existing post-employment reference policies to recommendations on professional networking sites.