What does TikTok mean for the Workplace?

Now I admit I am not the youngest member of the team, but I have found it impossible to escape the rise of TikTok.

Up to a couple of months ago I would have asked ‘what’s that’? Another Social Media platform that means nothing to me and you may well be saying the same. So, here is a few interesting and little-known facts as they say:

  • TikTok was founded in Beijing in 2012 to share short lip-sync comedy and talent videos.
  • It was primarily a way to share short videos, usually between 15 and 60 seconds, using stickers, filters and augmented reality (another one that escaped me until recently) to enhance what was filmed and then show to the world.
  • By 2017 a version had been launched for use with Android and IOS phones and in December 2019 TikTok became the 7th most downloaded App worldwide, growing faster than Facebook.
  • Tik Tok’s biggest following is in Asia, their target market used to be predominantly teens, but with marketing and publicity, now everyone is using it, worldwide.
  • Posting pictures of dance moves is a bit of a craze, and especially when these are filmed in the workplace. There are videos filmed in Fire Stations, Paramedics with their ambulances, BBC presenters etc all ‘throwing some shapes’ and all of this content is readily available, because unlike Snapchat and Instagram for instance, what is posted on TikTok can be viewed by people the poster does not know or has not made contact with!
  • TikTok is also being used for more social and personal issues, such as the environment, bullying or more personal stories such as the loss of a loved one.
  • These videos can get hundreds of thousands of views if they strike a chord.


Now why is that relevant for me, working for an HR business to bring to the attention of our clients?

There are potential issues for UK businesses who have set up Company TikTok accounts and staff members are using their personal accounts to share films. The risk is building the wrong audience for their business. If your staff have personal TikTok Accounts, what is acceptable behaviour and are your employees linking their profiles to your company? Have you considered setting up a Business TikTok Account, how would you police this?


If a member of your staff gets a group of colleagues together at lunchtime, puts together a routine, films it and posts it, what else is in the background? Are other team members visible, perhaps those who have not given their permission to be filmed? Is the company logo on display? Can you tell where it is being filmed, i.e. are your premises identifiable? Is the content shall we say a ‘bit raunchy’, does this fit with your Company ethos?

These are things you may not consider and think this is all a bit of fun and a great bonding exercise for the team and you don’t want to be seen as a killjoy. But things like this have a tendency to go wrong.


A team member in the background happily eating their lunch, the video goes viral and the team member gets upset that their image has been posted, does your Data Protection Policy cover this? Or the music or tone of the video may go against what your company stands for?


Does your company have a social media policy? If not, why not? You cannot escape the fact that Social Media is an important part of everyone’s lives, and you need to protect the reputation of your business and the privacy of your employees.

This is Brenda’s last article written for DOHR as she has now taken early retirement.

Brenda was a very popular member of the DOHR team and supported her clients with loads of common sense, practical management advice.

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