Social Media Screening for Church Personnel: 3 Mistakes to Avoid

Maintaining a good reputation is essential for any business, but it is imperative for a church. When church employees fail to uphold the standards that are consistent with the church’s standards and beliefs, it can result in a damaging blow to the church’s credibility.

There are numerous public examples of social media’s ability to amplify bad behavior, including issues related to sexual misconduct, harassment, and other online wrongdoing.

Many of these situations can be avoided by screening employees’ social media accounts for red flags and potential issues. Ongoing screening also plays a role because social media usage evolves. What many churches don’t realize is that failing to perform initial screenings before employment and ongoing screenings once a person is on staff, can lead to significant risk and undesired results.

Here are three mistakes to avoid when screening your church personnel’s social media:

Failing to develop a Social Media Code of Conduct

A Social Media Code of Conduct (SMCC) plays a vital role in the success and safety of your church. Those who do not have a SMCC, often risk misunderstanding, confusion, and even legal matters.

A good SMCC defines what is and is not appropriate for potential and current employees to post on their social media profiles, what behavior standards are expected, and usually outlines what is considered public and private information. Providing potential employees with and training current employees on your social media policy helps communicate your expectations. Most importantly, the policy clears up confusion on any legal issues.

In addition to defining the rules, the policy should clearly state the consequences of deviating from them. If that can include not being offered a position or termination, it should be noted within the SMCC.

Failing to treat everyone equally

While the rules are outlined in your SMCC, it’s equally important that those rules are enforced. Failing to hold all employees to the same standards can cause internal issues.

In your SMCC, it should clearly state which social media accounts will be monitored, and if you will be checking for certain types of accounts. That way, if an employee creates a social media account after the initial hire, they are still being held to the same standards as everyone else.

It is essential to check each type of account defined in the policy for every employee.

Failing to outsource screening

Failing to hire a reputable company to complete your social media screening can lead to grievances and compliance issues.

Hiring a company to do your screening has many benefits. A screening company can help design a SMCC that meets the requirements of the church, provide consistent analysis, minimize the appearance of bias, and reduce risk by providing a comprehensive screening.

Rather than analyzing individual posts, professional screening companies like Social Media 23 use a software solution to produce comparable data. This approach reduces the opportunity for subjective analysis and establishes objective and equal outcomes.

Having an outside service screen social media accounts keeps hiring managers, personnel committee, and HR staff from viewing specific posts that could have an impact on decision making.

Avoiding these mistakes will protect your staff from unnecessary tension and contribute to the maintenance of your church’s reputation. Creating a thorough social media policy, documenting those in your Social Media Code of Conduct, enforcing policy rules and procedures, and hiring the right company to screen your personnel will help maintain your church’s order.

For more information on how social media screening could reduce your church’s risks, contact Social Media 23.