CEO to CEO: Social Media and Work-Life Balance

Social media guidelines for staff and work-life balance during the holidays.

What guidelines do you provide employees regarding their social media use?

Managing our clients' social media sites has become an integral part of our business, so we had to change many employee policies to cover social media use for both personal and professional accounts. The following are some guidelines we included in the new policies:

  • Employees should have separate personal and business accounts.
  • There should be no expectation of privacy in business accounts.
  • There should be limited use of personal accounts during work hours.
  • Posts on a professional account should be proofed and, in some cases, approved by a supervisor.
  • The message of the post should be consistent with the client's mission and culture.
  • Employees should not post anything on personal accounts that they would not want broadcast at a staff meeting.

—Ed Grose, CAE, president, Alta Management Services, Inc., Philadelphia. Email: [email protected]

We have a social media guide that defines our voice. Employees develop a content calendar at the beginning of each month because different staffers manage different social media sites. To keep it human and interactive, each employee has a company Twitter account where we individualize our content based on positions, subject matter, expertise, and personalities. The mix is a great way for us to maintain a corporate identity and also be open. But the rules are always bipartisan, friendly, and mission driven.

—Cade Holleman, executive director, National Association of Women REO Brokerages, Irvine, California. Email: [email protected]

We actually encourage our employees to use social media, believing that as they develop their expertise in this medium, they will be better able to convince members to participate in our social media programs. There are strings attached, however. We make clear that employees are not to abuse this privilege by, for example, making libelous comments about others or disclosing private information.

—Nelson Fabian, executive director and CEO, National Environmental Health Association, Denver. Email: [email protected]

We are in the process of drafting a policy that will very much match what our rules are for any posting on social media outlets. These rules are strict regarding bad language, insults, conspiracy theories, and bad-mouthing members or leadership. There are plenty of places for people to go to act inappropriately in cyberspace, so we have no qualms about keeping our space clean.

—Michael Keeling, CAE, president, The ESOP Association, Washington, DC. Email: [email protected]

How do you manage your work-life balance during the holiday season?

Work-life balance during the holidays is a challenge for everybody. I try to be mindful of all of my relationships: business, staff, clients, my family, and myself. Thankfully, this time of year is not very active for many of our clients, so I don't feel the same pressure as one of my colleagues whose annual meeting is the week after New Year's. We have to find the balance that is right for ourselves and our organizations. Yes, this is easier said than done, but keep trying!

—Gregg Talley, CAE, president and CEO, Talley Management Group, Mount Royal, New Jersey. Email: [email protected]

We close the office between Christmas and New Year's and give the entire staff that time off, and it does not count toward their vacation time. We don't get many incoming calls or emails during that week. Staff members greatly appreciate the time off, which helps everyone in their work-life balance. We still check in once in a while during that week and try to respond to urgent matters that find their way to our inboxes and voicemails.

—Jay Karen, CAE, president and CEO, Professional Association of Innkeepers International, Haddon Heights, New Jersey. Email: [email protected]

Working in a micro-staff environment means that I look for time off that is going to have the least impact on my organization's requirements. Many of our members take time off during the holidays, so there are generally fewer demands on my time. During this time I seek to bring much-needed relaxation and downtime to my life so I can start the new year refreshed and relaxed and ready to dig in. I do stay in touch via email and occasionally by phone, but I work to make that contact minimal.

—Carol L. Watkins, CAE, executive director, National Dental EDI Council, Phoenix. Email: [email protected]

My top priority in managing my work-life balance is to make sure that I don't overschedule myself. There is always so much to see and do, but trying to do too many things all at once can be a recipe for disaster. I usually try to save a couple of vacation days for the holiday season. If something especially fun and inviting comes along, I can participate without being stressed. I also plan ahead; I usually know what major tasks will be on my desk during the holiday season so I try to handle them efficiently.

—Margaret S. Bauer, CAE, executive director, Pennsylvania Music Educators Association, Hamburg, Pennsylvania. Email:[email protected]

I get up before my partner does. I use that time to do a quick email check, and that is it for the day, as I want my focus to be on my family and friends.

—Gregg Balko, FASAE, CAE, executive director, Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering, Covina, California. Email: [email protected]