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Social media

We think twice before we post or tweet

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What it's all about

Social media has created amazing new opportunities, both in our personal lives and in the way we do our jobs. But we all know it also has a downside. 

A post that’s even slightly inappropriate, unintentionally or otherwise, or one that’s simply open to misinterpretation, can damage the reputation of our business or customers or us as individuals. 

So when using social media we take care not to say anything that’s inappropriate, or abusive, or that gives away confidential information. 

And we always think twice before we post. 

We are each responsible for what we say online
“I was angry so I pressed ‘send’. If I’d just paused a moment to think it through. I’d have avoided all this trouble and hurt.”

What we all need to know and do

  • We are responsible, as individuals and as a business for everything we publish on social media. 

  • Unless we’re authorised to speak for Serco, we make it clear that any opinions we express about Serco are our own and do not reflect those of Serco. 

  • Our content should respect all religious, political, economic and racial differences and opinions.

  • Anything we state as fact must be accurate and fair. If we make mistakes, we correct them as soon as possible.

  • We never post content that is discriminatory or constitutes a threat, intimidation, harassment or bullying.

  • Likewise, we never post content that is indecent, offensive, or defamatory.

  • Our content must always respect the privacy of others.

  • We never disclose confidential business information about Serco or our customers, business partners or suppliers. 

  • We tell our manager if we find online material about Serco which is wrong, unfair or defamatory. 

  • When we identify ourselves as Serco employees, we abide by the behaviours and values of mycode. Our profile and content should be consistent with the way we would present ourselves and Serco to colleagues and customers.

  • When we use social media in the workplace with company facilities, our content must reflect Serco’s values, our policies, the law and not result in harm or damage to Serco’s reputation.

  • If Serco thinks something we say is not appropriate, then we may be asked to remove it. In some circumstances we could face disciplinary action.

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I was just so angry with the way he had treated me. And now I’m the one in trouble.

It had gone on for a while. I felt like my manager was picking on me. Always finding fault. My friend said, ‘If that’s what you feel, then use the grievance procedure.’ 

I didn’t because - well, looking back, I don’t know. Maybe I knew my manager might have been able to point to a few things I’d done. Maybe I just thought things would be loaded against me. Maybe I just didn’t have any faith that Serco would hear me out. 

Anyway, we get to the end of a really tough week. Everyone’s exhausted. And in he comes telling me what I’ve done isn’t good enough and I’ve got to do it again. 

So me and my friend have a drink that night. I’m furious, he’s trying to calm me down, but it’s not working. I say I’m going to take him down, let everyone know what a creep he is. And my friend says, ‘Come on! Just count to ten – and rethink this.’

I wish I had. 

Instead, I get up and say I’m going home, and as I’m leaving my friend calls out, ‘Just don’t do anything stupid!’

But back at home, that’s exactly what I do. I go onto Instagram - and I put up a photo of my manager, and his name and everything. And then I remember hearing my friend say, ‘Just count to 10.’ But I didn’t … And, well, looking back on what I wrote I just wish I hadn’t written any of it. I can see now it was just well … a stupid rant. 

So of course it all gets out. And back to Serco. And they call me in. And I can’t defend anything I said because it was all abuse and stuff. And they’ve suspended me and told me I may lose my job.

And so here I am, still feeling like I’m the one who was wronged, now totally in the wrong. And I haven’t got a leg to stand on. 

If only I’d maybe I’d spoken to my manager, told him how I felt he was coming down too hard on me.

Or if that hadn’t worked, then taken up the grievance process.

But mostly, if only I’d just counted to 10. 

We should always think twice before we post.

We should never post content that is indecent, offensive, or defamatory.

I’m not racist. I was just kidding when I posted that Tweet. Now it’s got out of hand. 

It was just a comment about my holiday in the Middle East. Just a joke about - you know, what some of them wear out there. Okay, I can see how it could be taken the wrong way. But even if I had meant it, I always thought I had the right to have my own personal view on stuff and say what I think. 

But then someone showed the Tweet to a couple of our Muslim colleagues, and it’s just gone ballistic. The view is that my Tweet is offensive, and Serco need to make sure that employees are able to work in a place that’s respectful and free from discrimination. Even though it was my personal account, they’re saying I’ve spoken in a public space in a way that goes against the fundamental principles in mycode and caused enormous upset among my colleagues.

I’ve said I’ll apologise, so I hope they’ll take that into account. I mean - it was just a joke.

When using social media we take care not to say anything that’s inappropriate, or abusive. 

The following Facebook communication is the cause of this disciplinary hearing.  As you will know it has now been published by a newspaper that has used it as proof that the company in question - one of our long-standing suppliers - is facing possible charges. The accusation made in the communication is entirely unproven and unfounded, and should never have been spoken about on social media. If the person posting this communication had had concerns, their duty was to report them. They did not do so. 

Hey guys! We really miss you here in Serco! So how’s life in the new company? As good as it was here with us? Am sending you a couple of photos of the team. They all say to say hello.

By the way, have you heard what’s been going on at [NAME WITHELD]?: We’ve just held a new tender process and of course they were after the work. Then we heard from one of their competitors that they know for sure they’re using child labour. Anything to make a profit, eh? 

Send us all the gossip about the new company when you can! 

Anything we state as fact must be correct and fair.

We should never disclose confidential business information about Serco or our customers, business partners or suppliers.

I was part of this What’sApp Group. We had got this great conversation going about how our different companies approached the whole post-pandemic thing. There were some great ideas, and I was going to bring them to a team meeting to see if we could put some of them in place. 

Then someone in the Group started asking about who were the most difficult people we had to work with. It felt like it was just a gossip session with some of your girlfriends and everyone was having a giggle. So I contributed with some personal details and rumours about two or three people at the office. 

I thought about it afterwards and realised I wouldn’t like anyone to see what I’d written. So I went back to delete it from the chat. But I’d left it too late and the one hour time limit WhatsApp gives you had passed. I just thought, ‘No one at work is going to see that,’ and tried to forget about it. 

Can you imagine what I felt when about six weeks later Shiv from HR came over to me and said, ‘Did you post this on WhatsApp?’ 

It caused so much harm and I feel so awful for the hurt I must have caused those people I talked about. I want to say sorry, but how can they believe me when they know what I said? 

Our content must always respect the privacy of others.

We’d got this contract with a new customer. It was clear to all of us that the person we were working for directly wasn’t going to be easy to deal with.  In fact in the first month he had several run-ins with members of the team.

I tried to tell everyone that it was just because he hadn’t yet learned that he could trust us and that as soon as we’d proved ourselves things would get better. And in the meantime, we just had to make sure we were doing a great job for him and all stay patient and understanding.

Then I got this awful phone call from him. He was so angry. It turns out that a couple of the team had posted about him on Instagram. One of them had done a cartoon - it was a great likeness too - and the other had put it up with the headline, ‘The trickiest customer of the year?’ and below there were a whole load of details that made it clear who they were talking about. 

He wants the people involved fired, and the problem is they just don’t have any defence. You can’t say abusive things about customers and expect nothing to happen. 

When using social media we take care not to say anything that’s inappropriate, or abusive.

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