Facebook foibles in a veterinary practice
One of the technicians at our practice has made friends with a lot of the practice's clients on Facebook. The problem is, sometimes she posts personal comments about her politics and her activities that make me uncomfortable. As the practice manager, should I say anything?
DEAR FRIEND:Every progressive veterinary practice now has a social media presence, but the ability to reach so many people with ease also carries a few pitfalls—and a rogue employee can be one of them.
Not only does every practice need to develop a specific policy about the use of social media and then make the policy clear to employees, but your management should check with an attorney to understand what the legalities are in your home state about social media and employee freedom of speech. In many states, an employee is held to the exact same standards on social media as they would be if they were speaking publicly.
To keep the lines clear, I recommend that employees who want to chat with clients do so through the official practice Facebook page and only during work hours. If they're chatting through their personal page, it should be off hours and they should be cognizant of not defaming the hospital or saying anything unprofessional.
You have to say something to this employee and share practice policy. This isn't about how you feel, it's about sticking to practice policy. If you don't have a policy, it will be hard to have this discussion.
Shawn McVey, MA, MSW, is a member of the Firstline and Veterinary Economics editorial advisory boards and is CEO of McVey Management Solutions in Chicago. For videos and articles containing more of McVey's tips and tricks on issues relating to veterinary personnel management, conflict, and communication, visit http://dvm360.com/mcvey.