Q: What policies do you have in place regarding employees using social media, texting, etc., during work hours?”

A. “We have no policies in place at this time. We are a small business and I work alongside my employees. I try to lead by example and demonstrate moderate phone use.  Employees do use their personal phones on business-related matters. This might be texting back and forth between the service manager’s desk and the shop floor; taking photos of equipment repairs both for warranty backup and customer files; texting or calling from out on the lot into the shop or parts office; calling in or texting from service calls or deliveries; and receiving customers' photos or texts related to a question on a piece of equipment the customer is servicing.  We do receive parts orders occasionally by text messages.

“That said, do Facebook videos or posts get shared or looked at? Yes. The question is: How much is too much? Is it okay to update your Facebook ‘status’ when you are in the restroom? Is it okay to have hourly restroom breaks?

“We did have one employee several years ago who seemed to spend 10-15 minutes an hour receiving texts and phone calls from his teenage daughter. That employee is no longer on our staff, but not necessarily because of excessive phone use only.”

John Helbig, Farm Equipment Sales, Farmington, Mo.

A. “We currently do not have a policy regarding social media, texting, etc. Within our company, we actually text each other quite often and send pictures, etc. throughout the day for work-related issues. We find it to be faster and more efficient for certain issues or questions. For us it would be hard to determine how much is work related and how much is personal.”

Lori Barnes, Key Ag Ventures, Red Deer and Leduc, Alberta

A. We have turned Facebook off on our server as too much lost time. Personal use of cell phones/texting are only to be used at break times unless an emergency. Only hands-free use of cell phones in vehicles if driving.Employees are to pull over to make any detailed, emotional or technical phone calls.”

 Don McLaren, McLaren Equipment, Phelpston, Ontario

A. “No cell phones are allowed on property, and all social media sites, including YouTube, are blocked on every computer as well!”

John Crafton, Tyler Brothers Farm Equipment, Maryville, Tenn.

A. “We are very aware of the time employees spend on social media. The dilemma in our business is that we need to encourage the utilization of social media in our business function while at the same time discouraging personal consumption. It is currently a topic of conversation within our management team and our approach is somewhat different by department.”

Kenny Bergmann, S&H Farm Supply, Lockwood, Mo.

A. “This is what we have in our employee handbook regarding texting and social media.  This is an issue everywhere and the handbook helps, but we also find ways to verbally communicate our policies. I believe we have stopped some of it, but we need to continuously keep sending the message in various ways.

Social Networking Policy (Revised: 04/21/2016)

The company recognizes that social media is an integral part of doing business today. The proper role of social networking is to convey information about the company, its products and services, search for possible new markets and discuss company activities and events.

Only persons authorized to do so may prepare or modify content for the company’s official website(s) and/or blogs. You are expected to comply with the following guidelines:

  1. Employees must identify themselves by name and their position in the company.
  2. Written approval to publish copyrighted information must be obtained in advance. If you are using information provided by another person, be certain you have permission to use it and acknowledge the author’s contribution.
  3. Maintain the highest level of professionalism. Be respectful to all, the company, your co-workers, customers and competitors. Remember you represent the company and will be held responsible for your posts.
  4. Do not disclose any confidential information about the company and/or its customers.
  5. Check your facts before you publish. Honesty is imperative as information can be verified quickly on the internet. False statements will damage both the company’s and your credibility.
  6. Promptly correct your mistakes to avoid misunderstanding and irritation.
  7. Information published on the internet becomes part of a permanent record. Exercise good judgment and common sense. If in doubt, don’t post until you clear it through the appropriate channels.

All social networking activities must be in compliance with the company’s policy on electronic communication.

Personal Blogs/Social Networking

Employees are not allowed to use company-owned equipment, including computers, company licensed software or other electronic equipment or facilities on company time to conduct personal blogging or social network activities.

Employees may not use the company logo or trademark on their personal blogs or networks.

Employees may not post photographs of other employees, customers, or vendors on personal posts.

Employees are not to link from a personal blog or social network to the company’s internal or external websites.

Bloggers are responsible for their commentary on blogs and social networks. Bloggers can be held personally liable for commenting that is slanderous, obscene, defamatory or libelous by any offended party.

Social networking and blogging must be done on the employee’s equipment during breaks or lunch.  If you have any questions regarding the proper use of social networking/blogging, please contact your HR manager

Tom Nobbe, Wm. Nobbe & Co., Waterloo, Ill.