FACET Alert – Should Prospective Employers Monitor Your Social Media? 5/19/2014

BI-AA842_SOCIAL_D_20140508102108Social networks offer a window into how people live their lives.

But should prospective and current employers be looking into that window?

It’s becoming an increasingly important question. The number of people fired over social-media posts is rising, and many employers look closely at a job candidate’s online presence before making a decision.

For an idea of how prevalent those practices have become, consider a 2013 survey from CareerBuilder, which helps corporations target and attract workers. According to the survey, 39% of employers dig into candidates on social sites, while 43% said they had found something that made them deep-six a candidate—such as posting inappropriate photos or information, or bad-mouthing a former boss.

On the flip side, 19% said they found information that sold them on a candidate, such as communication skills or a professional image.

Some advocates say employers should be doing even more than they are now to monitor social media—they should keep an eye on workers’ tweets and updates around the clock. Privacy proponents and worker advocates say it’s unnecessary. Most of what people post has nothing to do with work, they say, and shouldn’t be monitored unless there’s a clear reason to suspect wrongdoing.

Arguing the case for strong monitoring by employers is Nancy Flynn, the founder and executive director of the ePolicy Institute. Lewis Maltby, president of the National Workrights Institute, argues it’s counterproductive and unnecessary.

Yes: Keeping an Eye on Employees Helps Companies Protect Themselves

Management has a right and responsibility to monitor how employees are using social media at all times. If companies don’t pay attention, they may end up facing any number of serious problems.

It’s all too easy for disgruntled or tone-deaf employees to go onto social media and criticize customers, harass subordinates and otherwise misbehave. Sometimes that can bring workplace tensions and complaints, sometimes it can damage a company’s reputation in the marketplace, and sometimes it can lead all the way to lawsuits or regulatory action. (And, like email, social-networking records can be subpoenaed and used as evidence.)

Not Harmless

Some critics say that this is an exaggeration—that most of what people post on social networks is private and perfectly harmless, and has no bearing on their work. These critics also argue that companies often do these searches out of prudery or as ideological witch hunts.

In fact, a significant chunk of employees acknowledge posting information that they shouldn’t. Consider the results of the “2009 Electronic Business Communication Policies and Procedures Survey” from American Management Association and my organization, the ePolicy Institute. In the survey, 14% of employees admitted to emailing confidential company information to third parties; 6% sent customers’ credit-card data and Social Security numbers; and another 6% transmitted patients’ electronic protected health information.

Some of the examples I’ve come across show just how serious those types of employee missteps can be. Hospital employees have come under criticism or have been fired for discussing patients on Facebook—which violated…

Read this Entire article at the WSJ…


About facet
FACET is a human resources consulting firm specializing in the four phases of the Talent Management Cycle: Attract, Retain, Develop, and Transition. The Group's practice specifically addresses facilitation of smooth career/life transitions for individuals leaving organizations as well as career management, leadership training and coaching for employees whose assignments within organizations are impacted by change or other organizational needs. By application of several directions of pursuit, the corporation accomplishes a single goal: maximum utilization of human resource potential and productivity through efficient hiring, training and career development. The Facet Group was founded in 1981 and is headquartered in Lafayette, Louisiana. As an ARBORA GLOBAL PARTNER, The Facet Group shares a parallel philosophy of the highest quality and standards with other owner invested firms. Through this network, we provide services worldwide. To address organizational needs outlined by its clients, The Facet Group offers a comprehensive package of workplace consulting services, focusing on providing high quality, creative programs which favorably impact the bottom line.

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