Assisted Living Services, Inc.
EMPLOYEE SOCIAL MEDIA GUIDELINES
These are the official employee guidelines for social media use on behalf of Assisted Living Services, Inc. If you’re a Assisted Living Services, Inc. employee, intern or contractor creating or contributing to any kind of social media both on and off http://assistedlivingct.com, these guidelines are for you. We expect all who participate in social media on behalf of Assisted Living Services, Inc. to understand and follow these guidelines, and to be aware that they will continually evolve as social media evolves. Check back periodically to make sure you’re up to date.
At Assisted Living Services, Inc., we believe that social media is all about building relationships, sharing, and community. Additionally, in online communities and social networks, the lines between public and private, personal and professional are blurred. Just by identifying yourself as a representative of Assisted Living Services, Inc., you are creating perceptions about Assisted Living Services, Inc. and your expertise. Be sure that all content associated with you is consistent with your abilities and Assisted Living Services, Inc.’s philosophy and values.
Assisted Living Services, Inc. is increasingly exploring how online discourse through social technology can empower Assisted Living Services, Inc. employees as both home care professionals and citizens to better connect, communicate, and collaborate; and to share knowledge, information, and best practices with our community and society.
Therefore, it is very much in Assisted Living Services, Inc.’s interest—and, we believe, in each employees own—to be aware of and participate in social media sites, online communities, and social networks. These tools will help us:
- Engage in communities (wherever they gather) as champions to talk about our company, programs and services, and our work
- Build relationships, increase learning, and support collaboration
- Share our expertise with others
- Acknowledge our employees as ambassadors of our company and brand (online, offline, or anywhere) and to allow them to tell the company story.
- Share the exciting things you (employee) and we (company) are learning and doing.
- Listen to and learn from, dialog with, and support residents/patients, family members, prospects, associates, partners, referral sources, and each other
- improve service offerings, innovate, and exchange best practices across our company ecosystem
Whether or not an Assisted Living Services, Inc. employee chooses to create a social profile or participate in a blog, wiki, online community or social network or any other form of online publishing or discussion is his or her own decision. However, emerging online collaboration and community platforms are fundamentally changing the way care providers work and engage with each other, clients and family members. We encourage and value your participation.
The main thing Assisted Living Services, Inc. employees need to remember about blogs, social networking, online communities, and social media sites is that the same basic policies and principles apply in these spaces as in other areas of work and life. The purpose of these guidelines is to help employees understand how Assisted Living Services, Inc. policies apply to these newer technologies for communication, so you can participate with confidence, not only on this site, but in other social media spaces.
- Follow all applicable Assisted Living Services, Inc. policies. You must not share confidential or proprietary information about Assisted Living Services, Inc. and you must maintain patient/resident privacy. Among the policies most pertinent to this discussion are those concerning Protected Health Information, HIPAA, Confidentiality, Computer, E-mail & Internet Use, Photography and Video Use.
- Be yourself. You are responsible for the content you post. Never impersonate someone else, or purposely obscure your identity as a Assisted Living Services, Inc. employee. Write in the first person. Build your own reputation. Care about what you are talking about. Be transparent and state that you work at Assisted Living Services, Inc., and be clear about your role. Your honesty will be noted and appreciated on the social web. In public social media spaces, where your connection to Assisted Living Services, Inc. is apparent, make it clear that you are speaking for yourself and not on behalf of Assisted Living Services, Inc.. In those circumstances, you may want to include this disclaimer: “The views expressed here are my own and do not reflect the views of my employer.” Consider adding this language in an “About me” section of your blog or social networking profile. Avoid using unprofessional online personas, photos, or avatars.
- Be transparent. If you communicate in the public internet about Assisted Living Services, Inc. or Assisted Living Services, Inc.-related matters, disclose your connection with Assisted Living Services, Inc. and your role at Assisted Living Services, Inc.. Use good judgment and strive for accuracy in your communications; errors and omissions reflect poorly on Assisted Living Services, Inc., and may result in liability for you or Assisted Living Services, Inc.. If you have a vested interest in what you are discussing, be the first to say so.
- Be honest. Never represent yourself or Assisted Living Services, Inc. in a false or misleading way. All statements must be true and not misleading; all claims must be substantiated.
- Write what you know. Stick to your area of expertise and provide unique, individual perspectives on what’s going on at Assisted Living Services, Inc. and in the world.
- Don’t tell secrets. Respect proprietary information and content, confidentiality, brand, trademark, copyright, and fair use. Know the laws and don’t break them. Don’t discuss patient/resident protected health information ever. The nature of your position may provide access to confidential protected health information or proprietary information. Remember to respect and maintain the confidentiality entrusted to you. Do not divulge or discuss protected health information, proprietary information, internal documents, personal details about other people or other confidential material.
- Add value. Be helpful to our residents/patients, families, employees and associates by answering questions, posting interesting content, or adding tips or advice. Don’t spam, ever. You can link to other Assisted Living Services, Inc. blog posts or information about services but do it subtly and only if the link provides value to the conversation. Always provide content that builds a positive sense of community.
- Be smart. Or, put another way, don’t be stupid. Use common sense and common courtesy. If what you are posting gives you pause or is something you wouldn’t want to say in front of your manager, your mother, or a judge, don’t post it. If your postings on public sites related to Assisted Living Services, Inc. are inconsistent with, or would negatively impact Assisted Living Services, Inc.’s reputation or brand, you should not refer to Assisted Living Services, Inc., or identify your connection to Assisted Living Services, Inc..
- Be polite and respectful. Be respectful and professional to fellow employees, business partners, competitors and patients/residents. Never use ethnic slurs, personal insults, obscenity, or engage in any other conduct that would not be acceptable in Assisted Living Services, Inc.’s workplaces. If you want to write about the competition, make sure you behave diplomatically, have the facts straight and that you have the appropriate permissions. When disagreeing with others’ opinions, keep it appropriate and polite. If you find yourself in a situation online that looks as if it’s becoming antagonistic, do not get overly defensive and do not disengage from the conversation abruptly: feel free to ask the a manager for advice and/or to disengage from the dialogue in a polite manner that reflects well on Assisted Living Services, Inc..
- Be a leader. There can be a fine line between healthy debate and incendiary reaction. Don’t denigrate anyone. Nor do you need to respond to every criticism or barb. Try to frame what you write to invite differing points of view without inflaming others. Some topics – like religion and politics – often slide into sensitive territory. Show leadership by being careful and considerate with your words.
- Avoid litigation issues. Please never comment on anything related to legal matters, litigation, or any parties Assisted Living Services, Inc. may be in litigation with.
- Ask for help in a crisis. Never participate in Social Media when the topic being discussed may be considered a crisis situation. Even anonymous comments may be traced back to your or Assisted Living Services, Inc.’s IP address. Refer all Social Media activity around crisis topics to a manager.
- Consult your manager. Don’t hesitate to ask a supervisor if you have any questions about what is appropriate to include in your blog or social networking profile. Remember that if you wouldn’t want your manager or others at Assisted Living Services, Inc. to see your comments, it is unwise to post them to the Internet.
- Represent responsibly. Some Assisted Living Services, Inc. staff may be asked by supervisors or leadership to participate, in support of Assisted Living Services, Inc. organizational objectives. Such engagement on behalf of Assisted Living Services, Inc., including establishment of official external sites representing Assisted Living Services, Inc. or any Assisted Living Services, Inc. organization, must be approved and coordinated through your supervisor or manager. Assisted Living Services, Inc.’s Social Media Team provides oversight and assistance to guide development of new social media platforms, sharing knowledge and instituting best practices for successful implementation. Use of external Web sites for work-related purposes (e.g. photo sharing through Flickr.com) must be first approved by your manager and/or the social media team.
- Fix mistakes fast. Mistakes happen. If you make a mistake, admit it and be quick with your correction. Tell your supervisor. Most of the time, you can then move on. If not, let the team help you fix your mistakes; explain the situation and the team can come together to find a solution to any problem. Your participation in social media on behalf of Assisted Living Services, Inc. is not a right but a privilege that needs to be taken seriously and with respect. What you write, post or contribute is ultimately your responsibility. Failure to abide by these guidelines and Assisted Living Services, Inc. Code of Conduct, Code of Ethics, or other personnel and corporate policies could put your participation at risk.
We trust that you will live and breathe these guidelines on the social web. If, for any reason an incident occurs that violates the guidelines, we expect you to bring the issue to our attention immediately so that we can work together toward a resolution. We’ll work through each issue on a case-by-case basis, and we’ll listen to every side of the story. We promise that any consequences will be commensurate with the violation. The consequences for violating these policies can range from a helpful discussion to a warning to withdrawal of social media participation to possible termination.
Code of Ethics
As Assisted Living Services, Inc. engages in conversations on the Internet, the following code of ethics applies, both in Assisted Living Services, Inc.-sponsored sites and in comments on other sites.
- Assisted Living Services, Inc. blog posts and comments will be accurate and factual.
- Assisted Living Services, Inc. will acknowledge and correct mistakes promptly.
- Assisted Living Services, Inc. will delete spam and/or comments that are off-topic.
- Assisted Living Services, Inc. will reply to emails and comments when appropriate.
- Assisted Living Services, Inc. will link directly to online references and original source materials.
- Assisted Living Services, Inc. staff will disclose conflicts of interest and will not attempt to conceal their identity or that they work for Assisted Living Services, Inc..
The following are a set of social media best practices for Assisted Living Services, Inc. employees to follow. In contrast to the guidelines above, which you must follow, these are things you should follow. These practices will help you avoid mistakes as well as optimize and enhance your presence and experience on the social web.
- Tone. Be human. Always ensure a consistent, personable, and brand-enhancing tone or voice. Avoid scripts and corporate doublespeak.
- Give credit where credit is due. Always cite when quoting or paraphrasing someone else, and link to them. Make sure images are shareable through Creative Commons, and attribute them, too. Never use copyrighted material without permission.
- Write well. If you’re not the best writer, don’t worry. Use friends to help with editing, grammar, and word choice. Use the spell checker! Clear, concise writing makes a big difference.
- Create some excitement. As a provider of quality health care, Assisted Living Services, Inc. and it’s employees are making a valuable contribution to society. In addition, each employee and each resident/patient has a story to tell. Let’s share our contributions and stories with the world and get people excited about what we do every day.
- Share the love. We believe in sharing and linking to the best content from all over the web. A link is not an endorsement, so don’t be shy about sharing something from a competitor if you feel it is worthwhile to our residents, families and friends.
- Be a good conversationalist. Monitor and reply to comments in a timely manner, when a response is appropriate. Remember, it’s a conversation. Talk to your readers like you would talk to real people. Consider content that’s open-ended and invites response. Encourage comments. Always add value and insight, attempt to educate, or solve a problem. Be thought-provoking and build a sense of community. If your content improves knowledge or skills; helps people do their jobs; solves problems; or builds better understanding of Assisted Living Services, Inc. – you are adding value.
- Be clear, but not defensive. Be polite and professional, especially when you disagree with someone. Once the words are out there, you can’t get them back. If you find yourself working too hard to defend your position, take a step back, let the community defend for you (because they will if you’re justified).
- Remember everything online is discoverable. If you can’t show it to your mother, your manager, or a judge, don’t post it. If in doubt, ask.
- Be Accessible. Cultivate a public dialog with community members and demonstrate your responsiveness and willingness to be held accountable.
- Always be learning. The social space is fast-moving and ever-evolving. Read more than you write. Ask questions. Link to others, build relationships, and help people. That’s what our work is all about.