Modern employees live in a virtual online aquarium and there is a big possibility that the person browsing your Facebook profile is either your current or your future employer.
The number of people getting fired over posts in social media is pretty significant to consider keeping it nice and simple. You can understand employers on the one hand – it can be quite embarrassing if your worker is posting cruel jokes about his or her boss online. On the other hand it is against ethical behavior and basic moral principles. Let’s see if we can find a happy medium by looking through pros and cons of social media monitoring of employees.
I decided to start with cons as I am an employee myself, so I do have something to say from my point of view.
- Time-out. Every person needs a time out, even employers. Remember those times when you hated your boss for yelling at you for watching some YouTube video or checking your IM chats? This is the exact same situation. You may overgrown it, but your employees still need time-outs. And if they want to share something silly it is only their right. Face it, they have their own lives. I personally enjoy checking Facebook several times a day. It is my way of procrastination and I admit it. If I am forbidden to do so, I will simply find another way to procrastinate.
- Needless drama. There is a good saying: “What the eyes don’t see, the heart does not grieve over”. It comes as a surprise but your workers might not be your biggest fans. Sometimes they discuss their feelings in social media and there is no need to get upset as they do it in their free time and treat you nicely while at work. Seeing that employees don’t like you will only make you feel bad and destroy the spirit of your team. Once they get to know that there are being monitored they will change their behavior but they will find a way to discuss you in a more severe manner. It is better to focus on being a good and unbiased boss and not to look for people who write bad things about you. Being a boss always means to have some employees that don’t like. It is just the way it goes. Deal with it.
Sure thing there are pros, as well. Monitoring either potential or current employees can be quite beneficial for an employer. Here are some of the advantages of it.
- Recruitment tool. Monitoring social media accounts can be a great recruitment tool not only for job seekers but even for potential employees. CareerBuilder reported than as much as 39 % of employers search for information on potential candidates in social media. Moreover 41 % of workers post information about them drinking or doing drugs. Also, no one can deny that most job seekers lie during their interviews. And while you can turn a blind eye to some sort of lying, you cannot hire a police officer who belongs to some sort of a racist group. Surely, many people hide or delete inappropriate content from their social profiles. But still some people totally forget about it and you can check your candidates and see whether they are decent and suitable for your company.
- Increasing productivity. Some bosses monitor employees’ social media activity to increase the company’s productivity. There is a reason for it as some people would spend their entire day online and then demand promotion. If this is an easy job where people are paid hourly without any intention to help out the company, then additional keylogging tools can be also of use. The same way you put limits for kids, you can put limits for some employees and there is nothing wrong about it. In fact, many companies already do it and say that such measures for sure increase employees’ productivity.
So should we allow social media monitoring? I believe there are two sides of a medal. I know that no one is allowed to invade my personal privacy but I understand that an applicant with a drinking problem cannot be hired to drive kids to school every morning. So, there are definitely pros and cons and every employer, boss or manager should consider all of them. What do you think?