SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Employees who share personal information and opinions on Facebook are in danger of risking job security and jeopardizing workplace relationships, according to a recently released survey conducted by Fierce, Inc., leadership development and training experts. Nearly one in three employees have witnessed or know of a coworker reprimanded for an inappropriate Facebook post. Employees may also risk tarnishing professional reputations, with 40 percent engaging in some form of inappropriate communication with colleagues on Facebook, such as gossiping or flirting. The survey consists of responses from almost 800 executives and employees in multiple fields, including healthcare, retail, manufacturing, education, and financial services.
The social network doesn’t appear to help foster camaraderie in the office either, as 51.1 percent of employees say Facebook is ineffective at enhancing work relationships. Of those respondents, 16.3 noted that shared opinions cause loss of respect for coworkers. Other work-related repercussions of Facebook include:
- 53.2 percent of employees feel uncomfortable accepting a friend request from a manager,
- 17.9 percent note that coworkers’ sharing of personal information is uncomfortable,
- 22.6 percent admit Facebook negatively impacts their productivity.
“Organizations should think very, very carefully about forbidding any communication or potential team-building tools in the office, whether it be Facebook, sports fantasy leagues, or political conversations,” said Halley Bock, CEO and president of Fierce, Inc. “Forward-thinking organizations should hold exploratory conversations with employees to gather diverse perspectives on using Facebook at work, then establish clear guidelines which hold employees able to access the network appropriately.”
Here are three general areas of conversations Fierce recommends companies should explore with staff in order to navigate Facebook issues and develop viable policies:
- Friend requesting: Do employees feel comfortable being Facebook friends with managers? Should supervisors refrain from sending friend requests to employees?
- Sharing of personal information and opinions: What is and is not appropriate to share on Facebook? Will there be repercussions for posting inappropriate photos or comments? If so, what are they? Are there policy inconsistencies between what is acceptable speech in the office and what is posted on Facebook?
- Time spent on Facebook: What are acceptable time limits for Facebook usage each day, week, or month? Can employees be permitted free rein during breaks, at lunch, and before or after established office hours?
Facebook use at work is nearly ubiquitous, with more than eight out of every 10 employees logging onto the social networking site. Despite its almost universal adoption, more than half of all organizations – 51.6 percent – have no social media policy. Smart organizations are now considering guidelines that establish clear social-networking policies for employees to follow. Leading-edge organizations are fostering multi-perspective conversations about what is and is not acceptable behavior to best manage work interactions both on and offline. Such foresight will result in deepening of professional relationships, workplace innovation, and better bottom-line results.
Fierce, Inc. is an award-winning leadership development and training company that drives results for business and education by improving workplace communication. Fierce creates authentic, energizing, and rewarding connections with colleagues and customers through skillful conversations that lead to successful outcomes and measurable ROI. Tailored to any organization, Fierce principles and methods translate across the globe, ensure individual and collective success, and develop skills that are practical, easy-to-learn and can be applied immediately. Fierce’s programs have been successfully implemented at blue-chip companies, non-profits, and educational organizations worldwide, including Ernst & Young, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, CARE, and Crate & Barrel. Fierce has received numerous industry and business accolades. The company has twice been honored as an Inc. 500|5000 company, in 2011 was named to TrainingIndustry.com’s “Companies to Watch” list, and in 2011 and 2012 selected to Seattle Business magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” in Washington lists.