Employers Care About What You Post on Social Media

Employers care about what you post on your social media profile. They may not hire you based on how you present your social media profiles publicly, but chances are you will face consequences if you post anything online that reflects badly on your employer.

Statistics show that the number of employers taking action against employees due to misuse of social media is on the rise. A mid-2014 survey from law firm Proskauer Rose reveals that 70% of the employers questioned report taking disciplinary action against an employee due to misuse of social media. A rise of 35% in two years, suggesting this number is only set to rise in 2015.

The poll highlights the risks that employers believe to be the biggest, when it comes to the misuse of social media by employees. A staggering 80% cited the misuse of confidential information was a risk to business, while over 70% believe misrepresenting the views of the company was the highest risk. And, 67% said inappropriate non-business use of social media by employees at work was a risk to business. Meanwhile 64% said that they feared that employees would misuse social media to make disparaging remarks about their business or other employees.

Social Media Policy

The rising emphasis on employee social media conduct has seen many companies introduce social media policies, to explain to their employees how they should be conducting themselves online.

The ‘Proskauer Rose’ survey illustrates the rising popularity of social media policies in the workplace. Of the companies surveyed, 80% had recently crafted policies to advise employees how to use social media in the workplace. A rise of 20% in two years. Furthermore, data from the poll suggests that half of employers had updated their social media policies in the year before the survey was taken.

Ford Motor Company’s Digital Participation Guidelines

To ensure your professional reputation remains intact, read and follow your company’s social media policy.

To understand how to conduct yourself at work, look at Ford Motor Company’s Digital Participation Guidelines as an example. These guidelines ask employees to follow five key principles when engaging on social media…

  • Be honest about who you are.
  • Clarify that your opinions are your own and not those of the company in question.
  • Show respect and humility whenever you use your social media profiles.
  • Show good judgement and only share public company information online. This includes financial data.
  • Be aware that what you say online is permanent.

Ford reiterates that you need to be careful about what you say online. Think before you post. Don’t share sensitive information. Don’t insult a co-worker on Facebook. In other words, use your common sense before you post if you want to protect your personal reputation as an employee.

What Happens When You Don’t Follow Your Company’s Social Media Policy?

There are numerous cases which have seen employees fired for ignoring social media policies. Take the case of a council worker in Wales who was dismissed last year for misusing social media.

According to the BBC, a Freedom of Information request from Cymru Fyw revealed that there have been 13 cases of misuse of social media by council workers in Wales. These have included the posting of inappropriate comments, photos and videos, and the damaging of a school’s reputation on social media.

The most serious case saw one worker fired by Wrexham council. Like every other council in Wales, Wrexham has a social media policy. The policy applies to employees “when they are using any type of social media and where use could be linked to their employment or the council.” The worker failed to adhere to the policy by posting “inappropriate material” and was dismissed.

Privacy Controls

Igniyte believes there is another step that you should take if you want to protect your reputation as an employee. Sites such as Facebook come with privacy controls, which can be used to restrict who has access to the content you share on your social media profile.

If you fail to set up your privacy controls, then you run the risk of your employer seeing content which may cause them to view you in a negative light. However, setting privacy controls does not stop friends seeing what you post. We would suggest combining this strategy, with ‘thinking before you post’ to ensure you protect your reputation as an employee.

Protect Your Professional Reputation

Employers care about what their employees post online. If you want to protect your professional reputation, you need to be aware of this and act to make sure that what you post on your social media profile does not throw your professional reputation into jeopardy.

For more information about reputation management for employees please Simon Wadsworth on email: simon@igniyte.co.uk or phone: +44 (0) 203 542 8689.

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