A recent news story reported on the impact of inappropriate social media posting and comments on future career prospects. The ‘Facebook Generation’ it seems, are more than comfortable to share their innermost thoughts and feelings with ‘friends’ and ‘followers’ online. In some cases this ‘sharing’ can be seen as detrimental to future job prospects, if employers read information not intended for them to see.
But is it just Generation ‘Y’ and ‘Z’ who are baring all online? There have been a number of reported instances of employees across all sorts of organisations who have struggled to differentiate between appropriate personal and professional profiles, and what is and isn’t ok to ‘share’ openly in the online public domain.
Is the onus entirely on the individual employee or candidate though to ensure that what they post is suitable for everyone to read, publicly? It is of course, an individuals’ responsibility to monitor and make judgements about what they say online, but I also believe each and every employer should be looking at creating a policy for the use of social media in the workplace. A set of clear and concise guidelines regarding what is and isn’t suitable and acceptable at work. Each and every employee is a representative of your business and if they are behaving inappropriately online whilst at work, then it can potentially impact your brand and reputation.
We all have personal lives and social media is increasingly taking up a large part of our leisure time, and whilst employers cannot and should not police every employees personal profile, whilst they are at work and online employees should be responsible and considerate to the organisation, its reputation and customers.
This subject will, I am sure, continue to be debated as we all become more adept at managing the impact of social media in the workplace. However, devising some reasonable guidelines early on and incorporating them into your company manual, can I believe, avoid many pitfalls and the potential for employees to fall foul of workplace expectations when it comes to social media use.