May 20, 2020  

How to Talk About Your Social Media Screening Program with Employees

Social Media Background Checks People Analytics Mental Health in the Workplace

Social media screening is a powerful tool that can help you find your most compatible employees or detect risky workplace behavior. As it grows in popularity, more and more leaders in HR are talking about its benefits, from the time savings that the technology offers to the peace of mind it affords. But even when the advantages of social media screening are clear, there’s another question that may arise, particularly if you’re thinking about deploying additional screenings in your current workforce.

How do you present these programs to the people for whom this matters most: your employees?

While online screening can help create a safe and welcoming work environment, it can also lead employees to feel spied on or untrusted, both of which can erode a flourishing culture. If you want to be confident about your policies, you’ll need to make sure that your employees are on board—and to do that, you’ll want to be both radically precise and transparent in your communication.

Whether your team has already created a social media screening policy or you’re just starting to think about how this would go over with your employees, follow these steps to give your employees confidence in your decision.

How to address your social media screening program

Be open about your screening program

Employees often have many questions about online screening programs:

  • Are you going to analyze my private Facebook posts?
  • Why are we being screened again?
  • Am I under suspicion of doing something wrong?
  • Are the findings going to affect my work?

Whether you’re reaching out digitally or in person, begin by communicating what you’re planning to roll out in the organization and why to demonstrate an honest approach and to answer any pertinent questions.

Explain that your initiative is part of a greater workplace toxicity reduction effort and that your new program will help ensure that there is no discrimination or harassment. Online screening programs exist to show sexism, intolerance, and other publicly available data in order to protect your employees and organization.

Once your employees understand the “why” behind your initiative, the details become easier to explain. You can:

  • State that with the exception of specialized roles, you will use the same screening criteria for all members of the company and hold all members to account regardless of their position in the organization.
  • Emphasize that you will only be surfacing specific behaviors (based on what your company values most) and can’t touch any private information.
  • Inform staff that these are the same behaviors that new recruits are screened for, and that you will only act on information that is relevant to the job.

[If you’re looking to expedite the process, you can download our list of helpful statements that top HR executives have used to introduce this program into their organizations. Click here to download our rollout plan, adaptable to organizations of any industry or size.]

Download Your Rollout Plan Now

From there, open a channel of communication to answer any questions. This will allow your employees to learn more about the program and feel more comfortable with it. It will also ensure that the way you’re handling the rollout process is transparent and forthright, just as your screening process will be.

Cast a light on the benefits

Because online screening is a relatively newer method of improving the employee experience, some employees will want to learn more about the process and the outcomes. Therefore, in addition to emphasizing the transparency of your measures, continue to highlight the advantages of the new initiative in your communication.

Draw attention to the fact that you want to look out for culture and well-being. Make sure that your employees know that your goal is to reduce workplace toxicity and that you will never surface any information that doesn’t pertain to the job.

Offer examples when it makes sense to do so. For example, you can explain that if one of your employees being harassed by a coworker but isn’t coming forward to report it, the program will allow HR to intervene before the behavior escalates. Employees will feel more comfortable knowing that any screening that occurs is part of a greater effort to maintain a diverse, inclusive, and equitable work environment.

Demonstrate integrity through compliance

If your current employees have never completed an online screening process before, they may have questions around the legality of your initiative.

Here, you can explain your strict adherence to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the requirements of the EEOC and continue to emphasize that both the intention of your program as well as how you’ll approach it until you’ve achieved buy-in across the organization. Show your employees that you appreciate their opinion and consent, and you’ll be able to work your way towards implementing your initiative.

As you prepare to launch the program itself, continue to offer information so your employees know what to expect:

  • Give clarity on when will the screening program will launch.
  • Let your employees know what they can expect after the program begins.
  • Remind them that their questions and feedback are always welcome.

Once you’ve ensured that your workers are aware and on board, you can finalize and implement the program. Feel free to reach out to our team or browse our top articles on implementing social media checks to get your program up and running.

Evaluate and share insights

Once your program is up and running, what can you do to keep building trust?

After vetting or rescreening your workforce, you can assess the results and determine the positive effects on your organization. Did you discover inappropriate behaviors that could find their way into the workplace and harm your staff and their well-being? If so, you can take action to eliminate or reduce the incidence of these behaviors. If not, you can feel confident that there are no indicators of potential risk and that the screening has confirmed your employees' virtues and competences.

Nevertheless, you can continue building trust in the organization by sharing the insights and results of the program with your employees. By maintaining a transparent approach that appreciates every individual and their point of view, your employees won’t feel uncomfortable with the next round of screening. Instead, they will experience it as a process that protects both them and the organization's safety.

Download Your Rollout Plan Now

Disclaimer: Please note that the materials available in this article are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing business or legal advice. You should contact a professional consultant or attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.

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