Social media managers hold a tremendous amount of responsibility and power. They are in a unique role in that they are the online face of an employer and brand before millions of people.
Social media managers are responsible for the social media presences of the entities that employ them. Their responsibilities include monitoring, posting, guiding, creating, filtering, and directing various social media activities.
Even though they are behind a screen, social media managers are still an integral part of customer service.
Part of a social media manager’s job, for example, is to quickly and professionally respond to online feedback from customers. The manager’s tone and handling of the feedback is a direct reflection of the company.
Given the authority and responsibility of the social media manager, sound and sober decisions are essential.
Sober Decisions Are a Must for Social Media Managers
In today’s tech-focused world, social media is largely what drives sales, builds brand awareness, and develops professional and consumer relationships.
Social media helps to establish a company’s reputation and credibility. And it’s the social media manager who is at the helm of that ship.
Social media strategy, as many businesses will attest, can make or break a company. Beyond strategy, though, how do a social media manager’s personal decisions impact an organization?
This is a job that on the best of days requires an individual to be able to multitask. The manager needs to make quick, sound decisions and adapt to constant change.
Yet alcohol or drug use interferes with those job requirements. Alcohol affects the senses, skews judgment, and delays reflexes.
Alcohol + Social Media = A Recipe for Disaster
An inebriated employee is dangerous to a company’s reputation and success. Imagine an intoxicated employee at a service desk who greets a few customers haphazardly before someone reports him or her to management.
This person doesn’t cause nearly the same the amount of short or long-term damage that a compromised social media manager does. Why?
Just one day of indiscriminate social media posts by a social media manager can do irreversible damage. Those posts obviously reach those directly viewing them who associate them with the company name.
But what’s worse is that those initial viewers will share those posts with the masses on social media or via email, text, etc. So content has gone out that is obscene, misleading, unfactual, rude, nonsensical, or otherwise damaging.
The company will hopefully discover it, or the social media manager might sober up and delete it. But even if either of those actions occurs, such as post will still likely become a permanent, possibly viral, presence.
Users will associate that content with the company from then on, and the damage to the business’s reputation has been done.
Substance abuse impacts a person’s job performance on many levels. Sober employees are dependable and smart employees. They are the ones willing to work hard all day every day and to make clear-headed judgment calls.
According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), employees with substance abuse problems cause themselves, employers, and coworkers a number of problems. These include:
- loss of productivity
- loss of morale
- legal liabilities
- workplace accidents
- sleeping on the job
- suffering withdrawal symptoms at work
- poor decision-making
- loss of efficiency
- preoccupation with getting substances over completing work tasks
The NCADD also points out that these problems are not limited to employees who take substances on the clock at work. They also apply to those who do so before and after work and come in inebriated or hungover.
The lingering question is, what now? How as a business owner, boss, or fellow employee should you handle such a situation?
Unfortunately, there is no one one-size-fits-all solution to these types of circumstances. But it is of the utmost importance that you handle each scenario with care and attentiveness.
As the employer, you might need to let your employee go if the drinking persists after several warnings and/or interventions. This might seem like a harsh reaction, but it is important to remember that this situation is bigger than that one individual.
There are other employees for you to consider. Their families, supervisors, and clients, as well as the company at large, will experience the consequences of the alcoholic’s behavior.
Your endgame should be for you to see your struggling employee recover and return to work fully focused and changed. Keep in mind that his or her recovery is not necessarily something in which the company should be involved.
We should note here that friends and family are often crucial to an addict’s recovery. The steps that alcoholics must take to reach that goal, again, are different for every person.
Social media managers, like any other employee, will find themselves more productive and less likely to make critical errors in judgment by practicing sobriety.
Possible Next Steps
Even though friends and family are often key to recovery, a staff member’s addiction inevitably impacts your business.
So you must take measures to protect the people within your company, as well as your brand’s image. Here are some potential steps to take.
- As a boss/supervisor, have a private one-on-one meeting with the employee.
- If problems persist, request that the employee take a sabbatical. If possible, reach out to family and friends and alert them to the issue. Also make them aware that the employee will be taking a leave of absence.
- You might need to take more permanent steps, such as unpaid time off, suspension, or firing.
Here is one last reminder: it is important to remember that every addict’s struggle is unique. Seek to understand how and why that person is in his or her present situation. Once you do so, it will be easier for you to determine the next steps you need to take.
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- The Importance of Sobriety for Social Media Managers - November 21, 2017