Employees: To Facebook Friend or Not to Facebook Friend?
Building relationships with employees can sometimes be tiresome. You have to get to know their personal likes and dislikes. Figuring out what they like to do for fun can be time consuming. However, adding an employee on Facebook can streamline this process and maintaining a healthy work relationship can seem simpler. It is best to be careful though; friending an employee on Facebook can become a job in and of itself by having to remain professional and fair to all other employees.
Friending an employee on Facebook is not a recommendation and it is not against any rules either. It is more tailored to each individual business and group of people. Some companies prefer that employees build social media relationships while others keep a close eye on making sure that it is a rare occasion or that these profiles are watched more closely. It is entirely up to the company itself to decide which route to take.
The Social Media Workplace Conundrum
Using social media within the workplace can become problematic as a lot of time can become wasted if employees are focusing on their social media profiles rather than tasks at hand. Many employers are constantly going back and forth with the question as to whether or not there should be a social media ban within the workplace or if it should just be monitored more thoroughly.
To Friend or Not to Friend?
Deciding whether or not to friend employees on Facebook can seem like a very grueling task. There are pros and there are cons, but it is important to focus on how it can benefit or harm the company itself. Maintaining a professional image via Facebook can be troublesome to do with personal posts and opinions constantly being shared on the web. This is why it is important to be careful with what you put onto the web, once it is there; it’s there forever.
Can Adding Employees on Facebook be Beneficial?
It is important to build relationships with each of your employees, however, rules should be set in place as to how social media can be a part of building those relationships. Having a solid social media policy in place can really navigate employee behavior in the right direction when it comes to what they are posting on their accounts. Maintaining healthy business relationships can later on become great references from former bosses or other coworkers. Becoming Facebook friends can be a way for employees to really get to know one another, so long as they are being careful what they include on these pages. Most people like to get really personal on private social media accounts, so it is suggested to write a short disclaimer message to those who friend request you to ensure that they know it is in fact a personal account and in no way reflects their professionalism.
Why You Shouldn’t add Employees on Facebook
Friend requesting employees on social media can become very controversial. Since people tend to post very private information on their accounts it is important to be sure that no employee is being improperly discriminated against. Following someone on Facebook can allow you to learn more about their family, religion, ethnicity, and day to day personal situations. If an employee friend requests a management team member it is important for management to be sure that they accept it cautiously. Understanding the effects of becoming Facebook friends on working relationships is important to ensure fairness and equality among all employees.
Really, It Depends
Trying to decide whether or not to become Facebook friends with an employee can seem like an ongoing matter, and in a way; it is. Becoming Facebook friends with an employee is entirely a subject by subject case. If social media policies are put into place there can be measures to take if things end up getting out of hand or seem problematic to anyone within the company. Some have suggested that bosses not become friends with regular associates as it can seem like those associates have an insider position with upper level management, however it is not entirely restricted. Being careful about who you become friends with is important, and providing a full disclosure note is also recommended to allow those people an informed choice to continue or decline their friend request.
What You Can Do To Help Decide
Reviewing the company’s social media policy is a good place to start when trying to decide whether or not to accept employee friend requests on Facebook. This will ensure that you are playing by the rules and that zero favoritism is being shown. Weighing the pros and cons can allow you to understand if it is worth it to take the social media friend request risk.
Examine Your Work Culture
Understanding your work environment is imperative in deciding whether or not to accept employee friend requests. Getting to know employees personally is a good step in anticipating what their personalities may be like on social media. Using sites like LinkedIn can even give a bit of a preview as to how they run their social media pages. Becoming familiar with workplace culture is a good way to build solid relationships with coworkers and can give a specific insight into how people within the company comport themselves outside of the workplace.
Analyze Your Facebook Page
Before hitting the accept button on Facebook it is recommended to do a bit of clean up on your own account. This does not necessarily mean that all of the content posted needs to be deleted. However, it is a good idea to give your profile a quick sweep before sending or accepting a request. This will just ensure that no inappropriate content has been posted or shared and will allow you to control what your coworkers will see. Personal information gets uploaded onto social media profiles, so be sure to monitor what you post to avoid and discriminatory or legal claims.
Evaluate Your Work Relationships
Prior to accepting an employee friend request, it is important to know who it is that you are accepting. Is this person someone you are very familiar with in the office? Do you have a lot in common with this person? If you are not so familiar with the employee that sent the request it is recommended to become familiar with them before hitting the accept button. This will give employees a bit more of a personal relationship and understanding of each other before taking the Facebook friend plunge.
Summing It Up
To become Facebook friends or to not become Facebook friends is the big question. However, there is no firm answer to that question. It all depends on what company you work for and what their social media policy is. If the company policy does not go against developing social media relationships with coworkers, then by all means, friend request away (with caution). If the company does have a ban in place, it is best to leave social media as an at home and private activity. Making sure that your social media account remains professional and does not include inappropriate content should be a rule of thumb, and it is always best to do a clean-up before allowing coworkers to surf through your page. Maintaining a professional profile will allow employers to sift more carefully through your media while also just ensuring that the policy is being followed by all employees. Each individual employee should be responsible for what they post and what they share from other Facebook friends. Following the social media policy put into place by the company is the best way to ensure that everyone is being fair and following the same guidelines.
This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is created between the author and reader of this blog post, and its content should not be relied upon as legal advice. Readers are urged to consult legal counsel when seeking legal advice.