Social Media at Work – What should a Social Media Policy contain?

15 11 2010

In todays technology-framed times more and more people and businesses are embracing Social Media and using it for a variety of things.  Be it contributing to industry debates, research, marketing, networking or resourcing, the way we are choosing to communicate with each other has shifted once again.  Sites such as Linked In, WordPress,Twitter, Facebook etc have created a permanent space on many people’s web-browers favourites lists and are growing in followers by the day.

In light of this shift, organsations now need to consider the impact of this Social Networking revolution and how it could impact their business.  It’s important that staff are clear on what is appropriate in the use of Social Media at work as distinct from generic internet usage.

With this in mind here are some questions to help guide you towards what your social media policy might need to contain:

1)    What purposes are you happy for your staff to use Social Media sites at work?

2)    Who is able to speak on behalf of your company?

3)    What sort of comments are you happy for your staff to make about your business?

4)    Who owns the content of what your staff write on Social Media sites such as Linked In, Blogs, Facebook etc?

5)    When networking, who’s the relationship between the staff member or your organisation?

6)    What happens if the staff member spells things incorrectly, or mis-quotes/mis-represents something?

7)    How do you know what your staff are saying about your business?

8)    How and when do you monitor Social Media usage amongst your staff?

9)    What happens when a member of staff joins/leaves?

10) If you have a company account on one of these sites, who has the log in details?  Who has access?

11) How and who will handle responses to comments?

12)  What happens if a member of staff says something defamatory, libelous etc?

13)  What sites are your staff allowed to access and what sort of things are they allowed to look at (this will link into your internet usage policy)

14)  How much time should be spent on these sites whilst the individual is at work?

Of course your Social Media policy relates to people’s use of Social Media at work, so whilst you’re concerned with what an individual is saying about your business, keep in mind privacy laws.

If you’d like more information or to discuss this in further detail, please get in touch with Michelle Fischer on 01202 853647.

Alternatively, read what Mashable has to say about the subject here:

For examples of business’s Social Media Policies:


What I learnt about The Talent War from The Band of Brothers

3 02 2010

Back in the days before Crunch and Credit were in the same sentence, many of us were talking about a War for Talent. In fact I recall going to a conference about it with Gladiators handing out canapés at the Trocadero in London… I digress.

This War for Talent, a term coined by McKinsey in 1997, hinged upon a few pivotal themes, in short:

  • The need for great Talent is important
  • Demand for this Talent outstrips supply
  • The stakes are high
  • Companies are not prepared
  • The war will persist

With the job market starting to show some signs of improvement in specific skill-based areas, it’s clear that there remains a skills-shortage and that the Talent War is back on many businesses radar.

Recently I watched the Band of Brothers. I’m not normally into War programmes so I was surprised at the impact that this 10-part Mini Series had on me and my perceptions of wars. And it’s with this theme in mind, I thought I’d share some of my reflections on what we could learn from “Easy” Company that could easily be transferred to our very own War for Talent.

  • Great training and concern for the wellbeing of others means that you’ve a better chance of survival, even under the most trying of circumstances
  • Every single person has a vital role to play
  • Use all the resources that are available to you
  • From hardship stems remarkable teamwork
  • You need to believe in your leader to do great things
  • Sometimes the impossible is possible
  • You can be too involved in the action. Sometimes you need to step away and get some perspective

Do you have any reflections on this? Do you share my views?  I’d really welcome your feedback and any additions.

You may also like to know that I’m talking about the Talent War amongst other tracks at The Recruitment Unconference later this month. Why not come and discuss your thoughts there?

I’ll leave you with a quote from the series itself:

2nd Lt. George Rice: Looks like you guys are going to be surrounded.
Richard Winters: We’re paratroopers, Lieutenant. We’re supposed to be surrounded”

How to write an effective Job Description and Role Profile

26 01 2010

So, you know you have a space in your office, you have some tasks that want doing and you even have a little spare cash to pay someone too… but, how do you write an effective job description?  One that really gets to the heart of what you need?

Before any job is recruited for or advertised it is essential to identify what exactly your need is, what skills and behaviours are required for a person to be successful in the role, and to establish what you can afford.  From there, you can then produce or update your job description and role profile.

Is there a need?

Recruitment can be a costly activity; therefore it is essential that you ensure that you are channelling this activity effectively and not over-resourcing.   This can be established by asking some basic questions;

  • Has the need arisen by someone leaving?
  • Has the role changed? Has it been influenced by new products, services or changes in technology?
  • Have work patterns changed?
  • Has an exit interview been conducted? This could highlight important points about the potential vacancy.
  • Could the role be broken down and key tasks distributed among the team?
  • Is it a new role?
  • Does it fit in with budget?
  • Will it be cost-effective? Do the benefits justify the expense?
  • Should it be full-time, part-time or contract?
  • Could the work be distributed among the current team? Can individuals be trained? Could technology make an impact? Could shift patterns be altered?

Once you have established that there is a specific need for a new recruit, the next stage is to update the current Role Profile and/or produce a new one if necessary.

Role Profiles/Job Description?

The term “Role Profile” is a blend of both a Job Description and a Person Specification or outline of the type of person who would fit the role.  Role Profiles are simple documents which demonstrate clearly the relationship between specific activities/tasks and the personal attributes required to undertake them.  In short it describes a job, and the personal qualities required to do that job well.  The job is usually described in terms of the purpose, responsibilities and key deliverables of the job, and the personal qualities required are described in terms of the knowledge, skills and behaviours that are necessary to perform the job well.  Role Profiles provide clarity (both to those doing the job and to managers) on what is expected from people doing the role. They focus people’s attention on the key factors required to deliver results.

They provide information that enables:

  • A much clearer understanding of what the role holder is being asked to do.
  • More effective appraisal, against a clear benchmark.
  • More effective recruitment, against clearly specified requirements linked to business objectives.
  • More effective development of people, focussing learning on the areas that will bring most business benefit.
  • More effective promotion and career development, where people can see what they need to do to fulfil a future role, and in turn the organisation can assess people’s capability more accurately.

Key benefits businesses gain from using Role Profiles as opposed to Job Descriptions include:

  • Increased effectiveness from jobholders who are more focussed on what success looks like in their role.
  • Reduced recruitment and retention costs, with people better matched to role requirements.
  • Reduced training and developments costs, with learning targeted on activities with defined business benefit.
  • More successful promotion decisions.
  • Fairer, simpler and more transparent grading structures

Producing Your Role Profile

If you need to produce a Role Profile, it should be clear, concise and include the following:

Job Description
Job title A named role and location. The job title should communicate the function and status of the job.
Reporting line The person to whom the individual will be reporting. It is important that this is clarified particularly where there may be more than one reporting line for different issues.
Job purpose A simple statement to identify clearly the objective of the job.
Key accountabilities This details what actually needs to be done. The duties and expected outcomes.
Knowledge/experience/skills This section is used to identify the overall expertise needed to perform the job to the required standards for example: Knowledge of specific procedures (e.g. computer systems and software for an IT programmer) Experience in working with Microsoft packages The skills to apply computer knowledge, skills to work as part of a team
Person Specification
Qualifications Academic/vocational/professional.  Outline the minimum requirement for the jobholder and what is ideal.
Work Experience The amount of experience in a specific environment at a specific level
Knowledge Specific background/essential knowledge needed to do the job i.e. working practices
Skills/Abilities Skills and abilities required that are specific to the role i.e. numerical/verbal/communication   It is recommended to identify a minimum level of skill and also a maximum level of skill to indicate development
Personality/Motivation What motivates the candidate is the role likely to restrict someone who enjoys working with people if it is one which has limited contact with others.
Circumstances Availability/mobility i.e. is the candidate able to work the hours required, or can they travel to the work location.
Competencies/Behaviours A description of which core competencies are required for the job

It is also useful to identify:

  • Your essential criteria (skills, experience, attributes) which must be available to undertake the job
  • Your desirable criteria (other abilities, attributes, further experience), that would enhance the quality of the candidates.

This will give you an outline your ‘ideal’ candidate for the vacancy which will enable you to evidence a fair and consistent recruitment process through the shortlisting phase of your recruitment.

It goes without saying that the effectiveness of your JD or Role Profile can only really be measured by what you do with it next, and  how you engage with potential candidates, shortlist and select them through to hiring them.  Good Luck!

The above excerpt is taken from a module of Creative Leadership’s Recruitment Training Programme for managers. For further information please email us at or call 01202 853647.

The CIPD’s view of the Horizon for Employment Law in 2010

20 01 2010

Here’s details of what can be found at the following link from the CIPD outlining their view of changes to UK Employment Law in 2010.

In February

  • Compensation limits for unfair dismissal will go down (for the first time ever) from £66,200 to £65,300 – from 1 February 2010. (The maximum weekly pay to be taken into account when calculating statutory redundancy payments, and the basic award in unfair dismissal claims, was increased to £350 in October 2009 and is not changed again.)

‘Early’ in 2010

  • Following a consultation process in 2009, proposed regulations on union blacklisting are expected to come into force.

‘Spring’ 2010

  • The Social Security (Medical Evidence) and Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) Amendment Regulations 2010 will introduce new ‘fit notes’ that will replace sick notes in England, Wales and Scotland.

From April

  • Statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay – the standard rates of SMP, SPP and SAP will increase to £124.08 a week. (The standard rate of Statutory sick pay(SSP) will remain unchanged at £79.15 a week.)
  • Following consultations in 2009, amendments to the Conduct of Employment Agencies Regulations are expected to come into force.
  • Regulations are expected to come into force which will allow parents of children due on or after 3 April 2011 to transfer part of the mother’s maternity leave to the father.
  • Under the Apprentices, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009, after a minimum of six month’s service in organisations with 250 or more staff, employees will have the right to request time off for training which they believe will make them productive and effective at work. As in the existing arrangements covering flexible working, employers will have a duty to consider seriously any such request. There will be no requirement for an employee to pay for the training or time off. (The right will be extended to all sizes of organisation from April 2011.)

From October

  • Provisions of the Equality Act expected to come into force.

From November

  • Under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, people seeking work in a ‘regulated activity’ must register with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), although they may register from 26 July 2010.

Other developments

  • The planned review of the default retirement age (DRA) has been brought forward to 2010. In October 2009 the Government called for evidence on the DRA to feed into the review to be submitted by 1 February 2010.

The CIPD highlight that these changes may well take on a different direction depending upon the outcome of the General Election this year and also that  in some cases, the Scottish and Northern Ireland situation may differ from that in England and Wales.

What do you value most at work?

13 10 2009

I watched an interesting presentation today which talked about the changing face of work values.

Conducted by a well-known HR consultancy, the report outlined that people value their relationship with their manager or boss more than trust, purpose, challenge etc and over and above hope and stability.

I’m intrigued to know your own views to this, so have created my own poll. I invite you to take it here:

Employment Law Update – Changes that affect your Talent Management

22 09 2009

If you’re an employer or HR representative responsible for Talent Management in your workplace, here’s a round up of the latest changes in Employment Legislation that you should know about:

The National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999 (Amendment) Regulations 2009

Effective from 1 October

What does it mean?

These regulations implement the annual increases in the National Minimum Wage hourly rates. The main rate will increase from £5.73 to £5.80. The development rate (for workers aged 18 to 21) rises from £4.77 to £4.83, and the youth rate (for 16- and 17-year-olds) from £3.53 to £3.57.


The government estimates that nearly one million workers will be affected by these increases. Because the rises are so modest it thinks the net cost to employers will be negligible, as average earnings are likely to show a larger increase.

Gillie Scoular, partner, Mills & Reeve

Work and families (Increase of Maximum Amount) Order 2009

Effective from 1 October

What does it mean?

The maximum weekly amount for calculating unfair dismissal and redundancy payments increases from £350 to £380. The limit is normally adjusted each February in line with the RPI and this has always led to a rise. The current RPI would, however, most likely have led to the limit remaining the same or falling to £340.


The limit of £380 will remain in place until February 2011. This increased level of termination liability will have an adverse financial effect on employers who are struggling more than ever in the current economic climate.

Kate Holbrook, associate, Dechert

Data Protection (Notification and Notification Fees) (Amendment) Regulations 2009

Effective from 1 October

What does it mean?

Under a new two-tier structure public authorities and private organisations that have been in existence for more than one month, have annual turnover of at least £25.9m and have 250 or more employees (Tier 2 organisations) will be subject to a £500 registration fee. The previous flat fee of £35 will still apply to all other, Tier 1 organisations. Charities and small occupational schemes will always fall into Tier 1 regardless of size and turnover.


The aim is to ensure the fee structure is fairer, reflecting the resources invested by the ICO in regulating larger organisations. It will result in a significant increase in fees for these larger organisations, with a particular impact on group companies where there is often more than one data controller within the group.

Catriona Aldridge, solicitor, Dundas & Wilson

Tips: National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999 (Amendment) Regulations 2009 prevents tips being included in minimum wages

Effective from 1 October

What does it mean?

This will change the way that tips, service charges and tronc payments are treated for NMW purposes. Troncs operate where tips are centrally pooled and then distributed by an employee appointed as troncmaster.


Employers will not be permitted to take into account any gratuity payments paid to workers when assessing whether the NMW is being paid, irrespective of whether they are paid directly to the workers, paid by the employer through its payroll or paid through a troncmaster. Employers should therefore ensure that their basic wages rates comply with the NMW without any service charges or gratuities being taken into account.

James Williams, partner, Archon

Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) (NO 2) Regulations 2009,

Effective from 12 October

What does it mean?

The regulations make changes to the process of issuing certificates by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and introduce a new Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS). The latter scheme was established under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 (see below). The VBS will become the first centralised system for those working with children and vulnerable people.


Employers and those working in the voluntary sector therefore will have to carefully review and identify who carries out tasks that could be covered by the VBS. They must ensure they carry out enhanced checks now and that any new employees, those moving jobs and volunteers will be ISA registered.

Pam Loch, founder, Loch Associates

Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006

Effective from 12 October

What does it mean?

The Act introduces a centralised vetting system for people working with children and vulnerable adults. The new Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) will be operational from 12 October 2009. Employees and volunteers will need to apply to register with the ISA and will be assessed using data gathered by the Criminal Records Bureau. Only ISA-registered persons can undertake regulated activity, involving frequent or intensive contact with children or vulnerable adults. Employers who employ an unregistered person could be imprisoned or fined up to £5,000. Registration and checking will become mandatory in November 2010.


Employers need to review their recruitment procedures to ensure that the necessary checks are carried out and to prepare for vetting all their existing staff. In addition, employers will need to put in place policies governing the information which will be provided to the ISA. The biggest potential problem with the ISA is likely to be delay. In 2004 a backlog of CRB applications caused chaos in the education and childcare sectors. The introduction of the ISA could see this repeated on a larger scale.

Mary Clarke, employment partner, DLA Piper

If you’re worried about how these changes might affect your business, call us for a free consultation today on 01202 853647 or visit


Personnel Today:

Crystal Gazing: The Employment Horizon

16 09 2009

The latest employment figures will be announced shortly and it is predicted that unemployment will have reached 2.5 million lives. To pre-empt this the CIPD has given their assessment of what this means for the UK labour market:

It seems that this time round unemployment has not kept pace with the overall fall in production, unlike the downturns of the 80s and 90s. Had it, it’s estimated that we may have seen figures beginning with 3 million… The CIPD’s chief economist John Philpott put this mismatch down to the willingness by the country’s employed population to accept reductions in incomes for everyone over job cuts for some. He termed it the Shared Pain Recession.

There are three forecasts from the CIPD about how the country will emerge from the current recession:

★ Jobs-loss recovery
Weak economic growth leading to continued redundancy and lack of confidence, a possible further dip in the stock market and a climate offear and uncertainty. Should this be the case the CIPD anticipates unemployment to continues to rise to a peak of 3.5million in the next decade, with no return to pre-recession employment levels for the next decade.

★ Jobs-light recovery
Modest economic growth supported by a corresponding balance between redundancy and recruitment for a period of time and a gradual increase in job creation, returning to pre-recession levels after 2015.

★ A Jobs-lined recovery
Seeing sustained growth and demand enabling an increase in demand for a more flexible labour market and creation of jobs and employment with a predicted return to pre-recession job levels by 2012.

Philpott predicts

The current altruism employees are showing by taking the pain of the recession together will not last forever. Should more prosperous times return quickly, workers will return to a more selfish attitude about work.

If we slide into a jobs-loss recovery, employees will eventually become disengaged and their willingness to be flexible about pay and working conditions will melt away. According to Philpott, this is a finite resource.

What Creative Leadership thinks
In order to survive this latest employment trend and be successful, businesses will require creative Talent Management strategies that address communication, resourcing, reward, development and succession planning.

Should your business fail in this regard you will inevitably face the consequences. This could include; increased resignations and sickness, disengaged employees, increased disciplinary and grievance procedures (and possibly subsequent employee tribunals) and most worryingly a decrease in the productivity of your business.

If you’re worried about how this might affect your business, call us for a free consultation today on 01202 853647 or visit