10 years ago, social media barely existed, and now it seems to have worked its way into every corner of our lives. In a lot of ways this is a good thing, as we are now more connected and up-to-date than we have ever been before. But it would be shortsighted to say that social media hasn’t also created challenges – especially in the workplace. As many people have learned the hard way, you need to be careful how you use social media to talk about your employer, co-workers, and job prospects. Consider these scenarios:
Confidential Information Makes Its Way Online
Unfortunately, important and sensitive information doesn’t always have a bright red note at the top announcing that it’s confidential. When you combine the uncertain status of information with the ease of publishing on social media, it makes it far too easy for private information to come out in public. At best, this is embarrassing, but it can also lead to regulatory violations, loss of competitive advantage, and action in the courts.
Work Place Gossip Spreads through Social Media
Workplace gossip is inevitable, and social media is a conduit through which it can spread, amplify, and distort itself. A seemingly innocent comment can easily be misunderstood and create tension that affects the entire office. If left unresolved, this negative atmosphere can destroy the chemistry and productivity of otherwise highly effective teams. The best policy is to avoid talking about co-workers altogether on social media.
Company Image Takes a Hit
Every single employee is a representative of the company they work for. That means the social media activity of individual employees affects the way the public views the entire company. One embarrassing comment or picture can spark a wave of negative publicity, diminish the image of a brand or logo, encourage harsh media scrutiny, and discourage lifelong customers from returning.
Recruitment Gets Complicated
Companies now regularly scrutinize social media as part of hiring and firing decisions. And the information contained on these profiles is hard to get rid of, even for proactive users. Job seekers must be careful what they post online, because potential employers will surely read it. Companies, too, must be careful what they do with the information they find on social media. Employees who got fired because of social media have filed discrimination and wrongful-termination lawsuits in the past.
We don’t want to discourage anyone from using media, or even from using it in a professional capacity, we simply want to encourage everyone to be careful. Closely scrutinize anything and everything before you put it online, because as you have seen, the consequences can be severe. Learn how to use social media to your advantage by consulting the digital-age staffing specialists at Bayside Solutions.